Ratchaprasong has sprung back to life with the reopening of CentralWorld,the debut of a hot doughnut brand and the launch of a food & drink festival

The shopping atmosphere at Ratchaprasong returned to normal yesterday with the reopening of CentralWorld after four months of renovation to repair fire damage from the May 19 riots.
Several thousand shoppers rushed into CentralWorld to queue on the ground floor to buy cash vouchers for 1,000 baht but worth double the value.
Next door, things were far from quiet at its archrival Siam Paragon. The new tenant, Krispy Kreme, opened its first outlet with a bang as long lines of customers snaked across the huge mall and spilled onto the streets, eager to take their first bites of the popular doughnuts from the United States.
At the same time, the Ratchaprasong Square Trade Association (RSTA) unveiled the “Taste it all@Ratchaprasong Food Festival” to spur tourism from now until Nov 15.
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“The reopening of CentralWorld yesterday was different from its launch three to four years ago when we gradually opened it in phases. This time, we opened up 80% of the total plaza space. With more experience, we believe everything is ready: from building, decoration and product merchandise to security system,” Kobchai Chirathivat, president and CEO of Central Pattana Plc, the developer of CentralWorld.
He expected about 100,000 visitors on the first day of the reopening before rising to 150,000 to 200,000, the same level as before its closure, by year-end.
CPN plans to spend 150 million baht on marketing activities to promote the shopping complex. Of the total, about 15-20% will be spent to lure back foreign tourists to shop at CentralWorld.
Mr Kobchai said the company expected CentralWorld to book 200-300 million baht in sales in the last three months of this year, compared to 500-600 million baht last year. Sales of CPN this year are expected to reach 11-12 billion baht, up 10% from the year before.
Suthichai Chirathivat, Central Group’s executive chairman, also confirmed for the first time yesterday that the group was interested in acquiring the Thai assets of the Carrefour hypermarket chain worth 16-19 billion baht.
“If we win the bid, the Carrefour assets will help fulfil our group’s ambition of being a key player in multi-retail formats and we will get more bargaining power in buying goods. Anyway, it [won’t be a concern] if we fail in this bid,” he said.
Mr Suthichai said the group would set a special budget for the Carrefour acquisition, which would be in addition to its normal investment for expansion. The company has not decided whether to use the Carrefour name if it wins.
Next year, the group will spend 16 billion baht to expand its retail business, the same amount as this year. Central Retail Corporation (CRC) will also start its retail project on the leased land plot next door to the UK Embassy by the middle of next year.
Chai Srivikorn, the RSTA president, said the Taste it all@Ratchaprasong Food Festival was another marketing effort to position the area to tourists. It highlights not only shopping centres but also good food and drinks.
“This festival is one of our rehabilitation activities to regain confidence and draw traffic from both local and foreign tourists back to Ratchaprasong,” said Mr Chai.
Source: BangkokPost.com

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