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Thailand readies for shopping mall boom in 2017

Thailand can expect a slew of shopping mall openings in 2017, according to retail experts, as more international fashion brands and retailers look to take advantage of the evident mall culture in the Southeast Asian market.

Japanese bank and consulting group Nomura said in a new research report that Thailand, and Southeast Asia as a whole, is experiencing rapid retail growth and increased store openings, which analysts expect will continue over the next twelve months.

Moreover, demand for shopfronts in malls and retail spaces will outstrip retail supply in Thailand, according to report author Peerawat Dentananan.

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“We anticipate a rise in shopping mall-related investments driving near-term growth, and environmental improvements set in motion to boost longer-term growth,” said Dentananan in a note.

The report estimates that Bangkok’s retail occupancy rate will stay above 97%, This follows the evidence that the supply of retail space in Bangkok has registered 6% compound annual growth between 2007 and 2015.

Meanwhile, Nomura said Southeast Asian country’s bricks and mortar store are more secure to withstand current online shopping threat other markets are experiencing, because the consumers in these markets have embraced a mall culture.

“Despite rapid growth, we believe e-commerce in Thailand is unlikely to overtake malls as reversing the trend in China, the [U.S.] and Singapore, given that malls in Bangkok are better developed and are usually located close to home,” Dentananan wrote.

“We see shopping malls as a choice for [socializing] and/or taking care of personal lifestyle needs for Thai people, due to year-round hot weather (driving the demand for air conditioning) and the lack of nature parks.”

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