Tesco braces for opposition
PHUKET: Senior management of Tesco-Lotus will be bracing for opposition on August 16 when the company holds an open meeting to discuss results of a draft environmental impact assessment on construction of a new Tesco-Lotus big-box on Bangkok Rd in Phuket Town.
Marque A. Rome
Tuesday 7 August 2012, 03:01PM
Local citizens are up in arms about the effect another hypermarket will have on the livelihoods of the owners of local mom ’n’ pop stores and the effect on traffic in Phuket Town’s already congested streets.
The complaints are not new; they echo those heard 14 years ago when Phuket’s first Tesco broke ground on the bypass road and was embroiled in a national battle that saw politicians trying to get big box retailers from abroad barred from most of Thailand to protect small traders.
It’s a topic that has ever since divided bargain-minded consumers from small businessmen frightened that competition from multi-nationals will overwhelm them.
An informal agreement was reached after opening of the first big-box stores on the bypass road that effectively forbade their construction within the boundaries of Phuket Town.
Since then, the city has been replaced as the provincial – indeed, the regional – retailing centre by what might be described as Phuket’s Golden Corridor, stretching along the bypass from Central Festival to Tesco-Lotus, and now spreading onwards to the intersection with Thepkrassattri Rd.
Phuket town’s historic business district on Rassada Rd, meanwhile, has been abandoned by large retailers and is increasingly home to tenuously established boutiques, art galleries, budget-priced inns and backpacker hostels.
The effect of the planned new store is by no means clear but local people seem convinced it will be bad.
The chain’s management are trying to be as transparent as possible. They have pointedly invited citizens and “interested parties” to attend, “exchange views” and hear “detailed information about the project”.
The meeting is scheduled for 1.30 to 4.30 pm, at the Katina Hotel on Sakdidet Rd. All are invited.