Isetan closed permanently in Thailand’s Central World — another company leaving a sinking ship?

Photo copyright coolinsights — Creative Commons license

Sad news today that Japanese department store Isetan has closed permanently in Thailand’s Central World.

Earlier in the year, the company announced its lease at Central World was expiring at the end of August and that they would be closing the store. Today is that day.

The six-storey Isetan department store has been open in the Central World location for 28 years, and is one of the main anchor stores of the mall. It was also one of the best places in Bangkok for purchasing a wide variety of Japanese products and Japanese foods.

In Japan, Isetan is one of the most influential department stores in the country, with popular trends often beginning there.

While the Isetan store in Bangkok always seemed a little more old-fashioned than ‘trend setting’, it carried extremely high-quality Japanese and Thai products that will be more difficult to find elsewhere in the city now it has closed.

As for Isetan staff, there has not been an announcement by the company as to how many people will  now be unemployed due to the store closure.

However, as projected new unemployment numbers in Thailand in coming months are expected to be as high as 8.4 million people as the catastrophe that is the Thai government’s handling of the COVID panic continues, the number of people laid off from Isetan will likely be just a drop in the bucket.

Owner the Mitsukoshi Group has also not announced whether a new Isetan location in Bangkok will be opening.

Unfortunately, that is probably not likely considering Thailand’s economy is now the worst in Asia and projected to worsen in coming months due to the country remaining closed to international visitors.

In other words, it looks very much like Isetan is just another company leaving the sinking ship that is currently the Thai economy.

In February, General Motors (GM) announced it would be leaving Thailand by the end of 2020 with a loss of up to 1,900 jobs.

In a deal worth $10.6 billion, supermarket chain Tesco Lotus has also sold all its stores in Thailand to the Thai company The Charoen Pokphand Group (CP) and is completely exiting the country.

As for Isetan, the department store’s staff will be holding a special performance to thank customers  both at 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. today at the store entrance on the 1st and main floors, and again at 8:30 p.m. at the forecourt in front of the Isetan main entrance.

You can bid them a fond farewell there and, of course, visit their stores in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Singapore and Japan going forward.

The video below, which was filmed inside Isetan’s Central World location, does an excellent job of showing you just what anyone living in or visiting Thailand will now miss.