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Thai retailers use lessons of 2011 crisis to take flood precautions
Publication Date : 26-09-2013
Thai retailers have been preparing their properties against the current flooding to prevent a repeat of the damage they endured in 2011.
The Economic and Business Forecasting Centre yesterday estimated that the country could face losses of 5 billion baht (US$159 million) from the current flooding in 20 provinces, mainly in the Northeastern region.
Thanavath Phonvichai, the centre's director, said it was unlikely the floods would do much economic damage to the country this time around as they should not last as long as they did in late 2011, and the affected provinces are not major contributors to the national economy.
Farming areas should not be damaged much if the flood water subsides quickly. The losses from the current flood have been due to logistical problems and home damage. So far, more than 500,000 households and 900,000 rai (144,000 hectares) of farmland have been hit.
Kudatara Nagaviroj, director of corporate affairs for Big C Supercenter, said the company was monitoring the situation quite closely under its business-continuity plan, which could be applied urgently in the case of any emergency.
"We have gained experience from the massive flood at the end of 2011, so we need to follow the situation closely as well as prepare ourselves or adjust our business effectively to suit the situation. We also believe that this year's flooding will not be as difficult as in 2011 and will be short-term," he said.
Kudatara said the company's large hypermarkets in the affected provinces had not been impacted by the flood. Only a Mini Big C outlet in Kabin Buri district, Prachin Buri, had been closed because of flood waters about 10-15 centimetres high. However, the store will be reopened immediately after it is dried out.
"We have negotiated with our suppliers about the preparations in terms of stocks and product distribution, which can be delivered to our Big C stores throughout the Kingdom more effectively. Our major distribution centre in Wang Noi district, Ayutthaya, has not yet faced any flooding," Kudatara said.
Salinla Seehaphan, corporate affairs director of Tesco Lotus' Ek-Chai Distribution System, said suppliers could distribute their products to stores in flooded areas, without going through Tesco Lotus' distribution centre, to prevent any shortages.
"After the massive flood in 2011, Tesco Lotus has prepared for such challenges both in terms of our stores and the distribution centres, such as the preparation of water pumps and adjustment of the landscapes for instance. However, no Tesco Lotus stores have been hit or closed by flooding at the moment," she said.
Banyat Kamnoonwat, assistant vice president of CP All, operator of 7-Eleven convenience stores, said the company had a risk-management team to take charge during natural disasters or unexpected events, such as robberies and other crimes.
"For the current flooding situation, the risk-management team will collect all informative data, such as weather conditions, to be reported on a daily basis for analysing and evaluating any possible risk," he said.