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100,000 Thai retailers face permanent closure due to Covid restrictions

IconSiam in Bangkok. (Source: Supplied)

As many as 100,000 Thai retail stores may close for good this year as a direct result of the downturn due to the Covid-19 restrictions, according to the Thai Retailers Association (TRA).

Vice president of the TRA, Chatrchai Toungratanaphan, said retail revenue could drop by US$8billion from May to August with 100,000 retailers likely to close permanently due to the new Covid-19 Delta variant wave which has forced extended lockdowns and movement restrictions across much of the nation. Toungratanaphan estimates the country’s retail sales will drop by 12 per cent this year.

“The spread of the Delta strain is much more intense than the first wave last year,” said Toungratanaphan. “The latest lockdown and curfew measures covering 29 provinces only make the situation worse for retailers.”

Sales in restaurants dropped between 80 and 90 per cent in June, while sales at convenience stores contracted by 25 per cent due to curfews. Meanwhile, retailers are struggling to receive new loans from financial institutions. Toungratanaphan said only 10 per cent of 30,000 applicants seeking help from banks were securing approval.

Toungratanaphan also expects the retail industry will take longer than previously anticipated to recover – now, the TRA believes things won’t improve until mid-2023, at the earliest.

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