RETAILING

Robinson Silom closing after 24 years

PITSINEE JITPLEECHEEP

The Robinson Silom department store will close on May 23 to make way for True Fitness as the new major tenant at the prime central Bangkok site.

Robinson Department Store Plc decided to return the space to the landlord, Silom Asset, before the lease expiry in 2014 because the space was limited at only 5,000 square metres excluding other Central Retail Corporation business units such as Power Buy, said Usara Yongpiyakul, Robinson's assistant vice-president for marketing.

The limited space made it difficult for the company to renovate and extend retail space for additional fashion brand names to match the Silom consumer lifestyle. As well, there are many other retail players located nearby, she said.

Shoppers leave Robinson Silom, where a major clearance sale is being staged ahead of its closing in three weeks. — PAWAT LAOPAISARNTAKSIN

Robinson Silom opened 24 years ago and was the company's third flagship store after the Victory Monument branch, opened in 1979, and Ratchadamri. Both of those stores have also closed.

Silom Asset said it would pay 230 million million baht in compensation to Robinson above the market value. The company will stop all sales activities at the branch on May 23 and transfer the building back to the landlord on June 1.

''From now, we will expand our new stores in the shopping complexes that are developed by Central Pattana as we can develop the stores under the format we want,'' Ms Usara said.

SET-listed Central Pattana Plc is the retail property development flagship of the Central Group, the country's largest department store operator, which also counts SET-listed Robinson among its affiliates.

Ms Usara said that the closure of Robinson Silom would not affect overall sales performance because the company planned to open six new stores over the next two years with an investment cost of three billion baht, bringing its total branches to 29.

An executive at True Fitness said the company would start presales of memberships at True Fitness Silom next month and would open the service at the site in the fourth quarter of this year.

Shares of Robinson (ROBIN) closed yesterday on the Stock Exchange of Thailand at 10.30 baht, down 70 satang, in trade worth 1.74 million baht.

Bangkok Post