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Central Group plans Thailand's largest outlet mall

160,000 sq.-m project aimed at tourists shopping for luxury goods

A Buddhist statue in front of the Central World shopping mall in Bangkok being cleaned. The Central Group owns a large portfolio of retailers.

BANGKOK -- Thai retail conglomerate Central Group will build the country's largest outlet mall near Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi International Airport with an eye on the influx of tourists and the rise of the local middle-income consumers.

The 160,000 sq.-m complex, named Central Village, will house over 235 shops selling discounted branded goods and a 200-room hotel, Central Pattana, the group's listed developing arm, announced on Tuesday.

The complex will open in the third quarter of 2019 and investment will reach 5 billion baht ($160 million).

The company claims that Central Village will be the first outlet mall in the country to focus on high-end international brands, although it did not reveal which. It said that the goods will be sold at 35-70% discounts to normal retail prices.

Cental Pattana Chief Development Officer Wallaya Chirathivat told reporters on Tuesday that the company aimed to build an outlet mall like Japan's Gotemba Premium Outlets. U.S.-based outlet mall operator The Outlet Company was hired as a consultant for the development.

An illustration of the planned Central Village outlet mall due to open in 2019

"We are building a new shopping platform that will respond to Asia's growing trend of people who love world-famous brands driven by their increasing purchasing power," said Wallaya.

The location is a 10-min. drive from Suvarnabhumi and 45-min. drive from central Bangkok. Tourists are expected to account for 35% of the projected annual customer traffic of 6 million. The Chinese and the Russians, who tend to shop for luxury goods abroad due to high import tariffs back home, will be the main targets, Wallaya said. Thailand welcomed a record high of 35 million tourists in 2017, thanks to a huge influx of Chinese travelers. 

Central Village will be the first full-fledged outlet mall under the Central Group. "This is the last jigsaw piece to complete our portfolio and showcase us as a global player," Wallaya said.

The group now operates shopping malls, department stores, Family Mart convenience stores, Tops supermarkets and Power Buy electronics retailers.

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