The Central Group of Companies, Thailand’s biggest retail conglomerate, plans to spend 1 billion baht to build its first outdoor lifestyle mall in the Bang Tao area of Phuket next year.
Lertvit Pumipitak, the group’s senior executive vice-president of corporate business development, said the company will start to develop Porto de Phuket on 50 rai in Bang Tao in 2019, with construction to be complete by the end the year.
The construction is divided into two phases. The first phase is on 20 rai, focusing on the development of an outdoor lifestyle mall covering 40,000 square metres.
The lifestyle mall will consist of seven features, including a Phuketian Mercado and a Food Hall with eateries, cafes, bars and beverage stores.
Central Food Hall, a restaurant and cafe zone, a multi-design house offering various creative products from top designers around the world, as well as new formats of Supersports, Power Buy, B2S and FamilyMart convenience store are all planned for the mall.
Nick Reitmeier, executive vice-president of Food Hall and international buying for Central Food Retail Co (CFR), the operator of Tops Supermarket and Food Hall, said the company plans to invest B120-150 million to build a new Food Hall at the Porto de Phuket project covering 3,000 square metres.
The group already operates Central Festival, Central Floresta and Robinson department stores and lifestyle centres in Phuket. In addition to Porto de Phuket, the group is building a Zen Department Store in Patong Beach slated to open before the year’s end.
The group’s interest in Phuket lies in the potential of the tourism industry. In 2017, Phuket had 16.9 million visitors contributing B399bn to the economy. The next few years are expected to see 20-25mn tourists who will circulate some B555bn, the company said.
“There is huge potential for Porto de Phuket because there are only a few retail chains in the area, while hotel villas and condos have seen massive growth,” Mr Lertvit said. Phuket has more than 12,000 hotel rooms, over 5,000 apartment units and more than 2,000 villas, he said.
Customers in Cherng Talay district near Laguna Phuket have the highest spending power on the island. Their average spend per transaction is about B4,000 baht, compared with B3,000 in other zones, said Mr Lertvit.
He expects Porto de Phuket to see at least 3mn tourists every year and about 6,000 visitors during the weekday, with 12,000 visitors during the weekend.
This article appeared in the Bangkok Post.