Isetan marks the end of an era in Bangkok

The staff of Isetan’s Bangkok store gather for a final photo. Source: Facebook.

Japanese department store Isetan has closed its Bangkok outlet after 28 years of operation in Thailand.

The complex launched in CentralWorld shopping centre during the early days of Southeast Asia’s economic growth when many consumers in the region were having their first taste of wealth. The store was also a favourite haunt of Japanese residents in the city who found a slice of home there.

Isetan announced the closure on its Facebook account with a poignant message that attracted thanks and well-wishes from saddened customers and friends of the store. It did not disclose whether operator Mitsukoshi Group intends to reopen the store in a new location, but this is considered unlikely.

The department store announced it would not renew the lease of its CentralWorld lease in March. At the time it was known that the store was suffering from competition with other retailers, its sales having fallen to 70 per cent of the peak level in 1997.

According to mall owner Central Pattana Plc, the 27,000sqm retail space is to undergo renovation as an “urban lifestyle destination”.

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