Japan's Takashimaya department store to open 1st Thai outlet in Nov.

BANGKOK, NNA - Japanese department store operator Takashimaya Co. will open its first outlet in Thailand in November as part of its long-term growth strategy to expand business in Asia.

Siam Takashimaya will be a prime tenant of Iconsiam, a large commercial complex on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok designed to cash in on growing local income and over 30 million annual foreign visitors, complex operator Iconsiam Co. said.

The department store and the complex will open simultaneously, an Iconsiam spokeswoman told NNA.

The shop in Thailand, following those in Singapore, Shanghai and Ho Chi Minh City, houses over 500 brands, 180 of which are from Japan and 80 of them will debut in the Southeast Asian country.

Siam Takashimaya will occupy seven floors, with their combined space at 36,000 square meters, according to the company.

The Japanese retailer announced in 2014 that the Thai outlet would open in 2017, but the plan was delayed due to "some reasons on the part of the local partner," a spokeswoman for the Japanese company told NNA in a phone interview.

Iconsiam is being built with total investment of 50 billion baht ($1.52 billion). The project includes two luxury high-rise condominium complexes with 510 rooms and entertainment facilities on a plot of land about 80,000 sq. meters, according to Takashimaya.

The Japanese company has set a sales target of 12.27 billion yen ($110 million) for the Thai store in the first year while expecting an operating loss of 420 million yen due to initial opening costs weighing heavily on profitability, according to a report for investors by Shared Research Inc., a Tokyo-based research house.

Takashimaya predicts the store will move into the black from the second year thanks to "the largest-level development in Bangkok with a good location and favorable contract terms with the partner," the spokeswoman said.

The project was initiated by Iconsiam Co., a joint venture established by retail and real estate group Siam Piwat Co. holding a 51 percent stake and local conglomerate Charoen Pokaphand Group bearing the rest.

The Thai Takashimaya store is operated by Siam Takashimaya (Thailand) Co., a local joint venture set up by Takashimaya Singapore Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of the Osaka-based department store chain, and Iconsiam.

In overseas markets, the Japanese department store operator has run a store in Singapore for 25 years with steady growth in sales and profit. Its outlets in Shanghai and Ho Chi Minh City, which opened in 2012 and 2016 respectively, have seen increases in sales but have yet to turn profitable. (NNA/Kyodo)