As Carrefour proposed a compromise deal to appease those opposed to foreign retailers in Thailand, Thai retailers have threatened to defy a ban on protests imposed after last month’s military coup and stage a protest against Tesco’s expansion plans.
The Federation of Thais Opposed to Foreign Retailers said that it expects around 600 people to gather in protest tomorrow (17 October).
“Our single request is to stop Tesco Lotus from opening its outlets in outlying areas where local shops have been hurt,” Niroot Vatcharapichart, head of the Federation, told Agence France-Presse.
“We hope the government will understand that we are not challenging martial law. We just need help from the government,” Niroot said.
According to the latest figures released by the Thai Commerce Ministry, more than 100,000 small shops were driven out of business as a consequence of the rapid expansion of international retailers.
French retail giant Carrefour has proposed a compromise that would see international retailers shelving plans to enter outlying areas and agreeing not to open stores with floor space of less than 300 square meters.
“Small outlets directly compete against local retailers, which have forced them out of business. That is a cause of the problem we are facing in Thailand,” Carrefour said a statement.
Tesco, which plans to increase its number of small-scale outlets to 200 by the end of the year, said that it abides by government regulations. The retailer told just-food that it is continuing business as usual in the country.