Shoppers clear the shelves of 110-year-old Japanese department store after Covid-19 devastates branches in Thailand

Shoppers were stripping the shelves bare today (Jan 30) at one of the oldest Japanese department stores in Thailand after it announced a closing down sale amid the economic turmoil of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Tokyu Department Store – established in 1910 – was one of the first Japanese stores to operate in Thailand when it opened a branch in 1985.

Bosses overcame dozens of political and economic crises in the Southeast Asian country but the Covid-19 coronavirus travel restrictions have devastated the last hopes of reviving the business in Thailand.

The firm announced an ‘everything must go’ closing down sale with items reduced by up to 80 per cent.

Frantic shoppers flocked to the store to clear the shelves today (Jan 30) before the final day of trading on Sunday.

According to MSN Finance, Tokyu has struggled in Thailand because ‘in the past 10 years, competition in the retail business has become more intense. But in the end, the store was lost to the wave of business dynamics and the overwhelming COVID-19 crisis.’

Analysts said that during the lockdown during the Covid-19 pandemic, consumers have switched to e-commerce, which has seen tremendous growth.

They added: ‘Meanwhile, malls have to shut down certain zones according to government orders and introduced work from home measures, which make it less likely that people are traveling to the mall to shop. This directly resulted in the reduction of income from department stores and tenants in department stores, as well as from Tokyu department stores (TOKYU), but while still having to bear the cost of rent and the wages of regular employees, resulting in a negative turnover.’

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