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Retail king resurrects a slice of old Bangkok

How Thailand's Central Group returned to its roots on Bangkok's first paved street

Flanked by shophouses from different eras, Central: The Original Store is a monolithic addition to the Thai capital’s Charoenkrung Road, a historic area today dominated by antique, silver and jewelry stores. (Courtesy of Central Group)

BANGKOK -- Of Thailand's many family-owned conglomerates, Central Group is the retail king. Over the past decade, this multibillion-dollar company has branched out into hotels, property, restaurants and e-businesses, and embarked on a global acquisitions spree that included the surprise purchases of Italy's La Rinascente and Germany's KaDeWe, among other prestigious European department stores.

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