“If you compare the West to Thailand, I think in the West, especially in the US, they don’t make many changes to malls and department stores whereas we renovate and upgrade them at least every four years,” she says when we meet her in her office above Central Chidlom in Bangkok. It will be completed by the end of this year, Zen too and these are major renovations.I think that when you update a store, it becomes more exciting and fresh and new ideas come in and it creates excitement for customers.“The joint venture with Hongkong Land is the most important project and will take about five years to complete,” she says.“It’s going to be a lifestyle concept and we want to do something unique.” While it’s too early to make predictions about what the new mall will be like, expect to see lots of innovative concepts such as Central Embassy’s Open House, a co-working space/gallery/bookstore, and Siwilai City Club, a space with an eatery and bar, which have quickly become popular spots among the hip crowd in Bangkok.Store and mall closures, if you listened to the grim news from the US and the UK.
That bond is coming full circle: Central Group has recently entered a joint partnership with Hongkong Land to build a new mall just beside Central Embassy in Bangkok, on a prime piece of land acquired from the British embassy.
Overseeing the brand’s retail portfolio is chief executive officer Yuwadee Chirathivat, who is also in charge of prestigious department stores such as La Rinascente in Italy, Illum in Denmark and Ka De We in Germany, which were all acquired by Central Group.
A firm believer in the power of bricks and mortar, Yuwadee has been working at the family firm since the early 1980s.
The luxury lifestyle mall is part of Central Group, one of the Thailand’s largest retail and real-estate developers, owner of shopping centres including Central World and Zen.
Founded more than 70 years ago by a Hainanese immigrant to Thailand, Tiang Chirathivat, the company has expanded across the country and overseas, and is still helmed by the patriarch’s descendants.