Shopping continues to gain economic strength in Pattaya
Just on six years ago the Central Festival shopping mall opened in the stretch of ground starting at Soi 9 on Beach Road and covering all the territory back to Second Road. At the time, Central Festival was touted as one of the biggest shopping malls in Asia. Almost from its glamorous opening it has been deemed to be the number one shopping mall in Pattaya.
With more than 300 retail outlets, an entertainment complex, and the luxurious 300-room Hilton Hotel adjoining, Central Festival has become a kind of shopping mall away from the home shopping mall for the myriads of Bangkok residents who now seem to flock to Pattaya almost every weekend and public holiday.
That Bangkok-to-Pattaya weekend exodus has been accelerated since the 2011 floods, with many Bangkok residents purchasing, in the main, either condos or townhouses as second homes in the resort by the sea.
So, it’s not really any surprise that over the last few years Pattaya has not just confirmed its increased standing as a shopping destination, it has continued to build upon that foundation.
Almost anything and everything that can be purchased at a mall in Bangkok can now be found in Pattaya.
Thee were fears the arrival of Central Festival would prove to be the death knell of previously established centres such as Royal Garden Plaza and Big C. Instead, these malls have also profited from the added competition, finding new ways of attracting business.
Apart from the big supermarket chains like Tesco Lotus, which has a large outlet on North Pattaya Road and its flagship on Sukhumvit Road in south Pattaya), Big C, with its three main centres in north Pattaya, just off Second Road, central Pattaya in what was formerly Carrefour, and off South Pattaya Road), there are a number of other major establishments and boutique-style shopping places lining Sukhumvit Road.
Makro, the cash and carry warehouse on Sukhumvit Road in south Pattaya, is busy from morning until night, and the likes of homeware centres such as Home Pro, Homeworks and Boonthavorn see a steady stream of developers and home handymen coming through the doors.
The furniture ‘stylists’ Chic Republic and Decco have both opened large outlets on Sukhumvit Road, with their managements clearly believing the overall Pattaya marketplace has grown in sophistication and is ready for the unique designs and styles they are offering.
Tourists are still the most common sight at places like the Outlet Mall, located at the Sukhumvit Road junction with Thepprasit Road, while long-time expats and othe locals keep supermakets such as Foodland (on Central Pattaya oad) and Friendship (on South Pattaya Road) ticking over nicely.
Tukcom, the IT outlet on South Pattaya Road, has proven a great success since it opened in 2001. There are othe IT style places in miniature in the various shopping malls, but Tukcom remains the place where most electronic communications people go to source the products they are searching for.
The constant growth on the eastern side of Pattaya is also likely to see some movement in coming years from major Bangkok chains, once they recognise just how big a marketplace is now settled on that side of the city.
While Pattaya as a shopping mecca is still very much a work in progress, it’s almost certain the pace will continue to be very much forward in the years ahead, which is a good omen for business in general.