The retail industry now expects to grow by only 2.8 per cent this year instead of around 3 per cent, and continues to urge the government to implement the short- and long-term measures it has proposed to improve the situation.
The reason retail consumption is sluggish is that mid-to-low-income consumers who rely on agricultural income still have low purchasing power and they need stimulus from the government through Village Funds. This slams the sale of non-durable goods, which has seen virtually no growth.
If no new concrete measures are forthcoming, industry growth this year could slide to 2.6 per cent or even lower, Jariya Chirathivat, president of the Thai Retailers Association, said yesterday.
According to the TRA, the industry has continued to dip, and achieved only 2.6-per-cent growth in the first quarter of this year.
It is the first time in two decades that the retail industry in Thailand has suffered so severely, slipping into negative territory. The index of retail sales in Thailand has been falling since 2012.
From 2002-12, average growth was 8 per cent annually. From 2012-14, sales contracted 3 per cent a year, and continued to shrink last year.
This is because the government focuses more on infrastructure and exports than on economic and consumption stimulus, the TRA maintains.
(Source: The Nation)