The Thai Retailers Association (TRA) says consumer confidence is less optimistic due to the new Omicron coronavirus variant and has urged all sides to cooperate in addressing the crisis.
According to TRA Vice President Chatchai Tuongratanaphan, the Retail Sentiment Index (RSI) for December 2021 showed a less-than-optimistic outlook due to new COVID-19 infections from the Omicron strain. The RSI in December was at 68.4, increasing only 6 points compared to 62.1 in November. This reflects retailers’ concerns about rising infections, which have already spread to more than 30 provinces during the time of the survey. However, regional RSI has been higher amid the relaxation of measures and an increasing number of tourists following the Kingdom’s reopening in November 2021.
The vice-president acknowledged rising Same-Store Sale Growth (SSSG) due to an increase in Frequency of Shopping during the New Year holidays, or a growth in the amount of Spending per Bill or Per Basket Size. However, he said retailers are concerned that the surge in new cases will force the government to tighten its prevention measures, causing further stagnation among businesses.
According to a recent TRA poll on retailers’ perceptions of purchasing power and the Omicron situation, sales are higher as a result of government stimulus measures, sales promotions and online marketing. Retailers meanwhile warn that the new variant could impact on purchasing power, which is slowly improving. They also expressed concern over new lockdowns and plans to increase sales through online channels while minimizing expenses in response to the situation.
The TRA urged the government to strengthen public health policies such as through expanded vaccinations, offering quality and affordable antigen test kits (ATKs), COVID treatment preparations, and providing beds for critical patients. The association added that proactive measures should be implemented in high-risk areas to control outbreaks, with lockdowns recommended only for cluster locations. The TRA also asked the government to continue assisting the public with measures that reduce public expenses, and to consider extending programs that increase purchasing power and revitalize the Thai economy.
The Vice-President emphasized the importance of cooperation from all parties in containing Omicron outbreaks, noting that the country is steadily recovering and the economy cannot see a repeat of 2021.
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Reporter : Paul Rujopakarn
Rewriter : Paul Rujopakarn
National News Bureau : http://thainews.prd.go.th