Shopping Centers Today

OCT 2018

Shopping Centers Today is the news magazine of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)

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52 S C T / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 8 has been anything but reckless with regard to striking out in new direc- tions. "To be visionary and daring may sound exciting, but in fact we are very cautious, and we will take only calculated risks," she asserted. "Every new retail concept we have invented comes from deep research, customer concept testing and long discussions with retailers." While planning the redevelopment of Siam Discovery, the company spent five months on consumer research and trend analysis before finally deciding to rip up the rule book — abandoning the traditional small-store approach in favor of having large, open spaces on each floor instead. "We created areas for people to interact and create their own community by interest," Chutrakul said. "[Visitors] can per- sonalize their own products, enroll in a makeover program or share new ideas of their startup business in a co-working space." Persuading tenants to buy into this new approach was a challenge. "You can imagine how all my retailers and suppliers would find the concept so horrific, because it has never been done before," Chutrakul said. But her company's corporate culture urges employees to embrace change. "I encourage people to think out-of-the- box and [to] never stop learning," she said. "I always challenge my employ- ees with tasks that get them out of the comfort zone." This is a lesson she learned from her father, Chalermchai Charuvastra, who was CEO when Chutrakul start- ed out at Siam Piwat, in 1986, as an accounting manager. (Charuvastra was also the founder and first gover- nor of the entity that later became the Tourism Authority of Thailand, which has been instrumental in putting that country on the map as a worldwide leisure destination.) "The shopping mall is the place that should deliver happiness to people," Chutrakul said. "Therefore, we have to be one step ahead of our customers so that we can deliver beyond-expectation experiences to them. So, we can never stop learning, because people change every day. The learning process with my father took place in reality, on a real stage. He gave me big opportunities to learn, to think out-of-the-box, to cre- ate and to take full responsibility for my decisions." Chutrakul is now assuming the biggest challenge she has faced since first taking charge: a massive mixed-use project called IconSiam, on Bangkok's Chao Phraya river- front. This $1.6 billion project, a joint venture of Siam Piwat, Charoen Pokphand Group and Magnolia Quality Development Corp., is the largest private-sector real estate undertaking in Thai history. IconSiam will combine two retail-entertainment complexes, two upscale residential towers, an indoor floating market, a heritage museum, a venue for conferences and performances, and a community plaza, among other attractions. The mixed-use project is intended to be a showcase of Thai N E W S M A K E R S

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