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Sogo to keep Bangkok presence

July 10, 2000

SOGO Thailand general manager Tsukasa Ikeda has confirmed that the company has no plans to wind up its retail business in Bangkok despite its parent company's financial troubles.

"We definitely have no plans to suspend our business in Thailand," he said.

At present, Sogo has two outlets in Bangkok, Sogo Thailand at the Amarin Plaza and Sogo Erawan at the Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel. They both command excellent locations in Bangkok's prime property districts.

 

Sogo Thailand and Sogo Erawan have no financial problems and have never been overdue in making payments to their counter-parties throughout all their years of operating in Bangkok.

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Ikeda said the retail space rental contract at the Amarin Plaza will expire in the next four to five years, while the contract for the Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel site still has more than 10 years to run.

He added that Sogo has not yet decided whether to renew the rental contract at the Amarin Plaza but insisted that there was no company policy to close down its retail outlets in Bangkok.

Last week a news report said that Sogo was reexamining its retail business in Singapore after talks to renew the lease on its flagship operation at the Raffles City mall fell through.

Sogo has been the subject of financial scrutiny in Japan after authorities last month agreed that government owned Deposit Insurance Corp would take over 197 billion yen (Bt72 billion) in loans extended to Sogo and held by Shinsei Bank. About US$6 billion (Bt236.4 billion) of Sogo's unpaid loans will also be forgiven.

Ikeda said Sogo Thailand and Sogo Erawan have no financial problems and have never been overdue in making payments to their counter-parties throughout all their years of operating in Bangkok.

But he admitted that like all other retail stores, Sogo has been affected by the economic slowdown and increased competition from discount stores.

BY THANONG KHANTHONG

 

 

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