Bangkok retailers have hired hundreds of additional security guards, and are searching incoming shoppers and cars and motorcycles as largely peaceful protesters block city streets and demand the government step down. Since the protests began Friday, sales at Siam Paragon, Bangkok’s 5.4 million-square-foot luxury retail mall, have slid 15 to 20 percent a day, said Udom Suphpathorn, a spokesman for the mall’s owner, Siam Paragon Development Corp.
Siam Paragon has hired an additional 400 security officers to supplement its full-time force of almost 700, Suphpathorn said.
“We are absolutely on code red maximum security,” he said.
At the nearby Gaysorn, another upscale shopping center, security check points have been set up in the garage and all building entrances, said Chayanee Changlum, public relations manager. In addition, all trash bins have been removed, bags are checked at all entrances, mall deliveries are checked, security patrols have increased and overnight parking in the garage has been banned. The additional security force includes protest and demonstration drill teams, she said.
At least one mall, Platinum, has said it will close for two days during the protests, and other retailers, including Tesco Lotus, are closing an hour earlier.
The protests also have forced Siam Paragon to postpone its annual International Fashion Week from Thursday through March 21 to April 22 through 25, Suphpathorn said.
The protests come just as Bangkok retailers started recovering from the worldwide economic downturn and four years of antigovernment protests. Since September, retail sales have increased almost 20 percent, Suphpathorn said.
If the protests turn violent, Somphols Manarangsan, a political economist at Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University, predicts it could have devastating effects on Thailand’s economy.
“The situation is still quite unpredictable,” Manarangsan said. “The government has to handle this carefully and it will have to compromise more with the protestors. It’s not impossible that there will be violence.”
Asian tourism from China and Japan has declined with the protests, Manarangsan said, while Thai people are hesitant to visit shopping centers because of traffic problems and fears for their safety. Tourism from Western countries does not appear to have diminished, he said.
“Thai people think the situation is dangerous, and they’re afraid of violence in department stores,” he said.
The government protesters are organized under the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship and call themselves Red Shirts. They are demanding Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva resign and the House of Representatives be dissolved. They want new elections. The protests comprise largely rural poor who seek the return of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a 2006 military coup.
Thaksin has been living in exile rather than serve a two-year prison sentence on corruption charges. Late last month, the Thai Supreme Court confiscated $1.5 billion of his assets, ruling he had gained them through abuse of power while prime minister. Thaksin appears nightly in video telephone calls to the gathered protesters.
EXCLUSIVE: @tomford is opening its first-ever beauty store. The boutique, which opens November 20 in London’s Covent Gardens, was designed with the over-the-top glam Ford is known for. Read the full story on WWD.com, link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: Simon Wagner) #TomFordBeauty
New York-based DJ @harleyvnewton threw a party to celebrate the holiday collection of her dress and pajama line @hvn at the Ladurée Beverly Hills. It Girls @katebosworth, @rashidajones and more joined in on the fun, which included cocktails, croque monsieur sandwiches and a photo booth. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com)
For the holidays, @Burberry partnered with 20-year-old artist @blondeymccoy on a series of three outdoor murals in downtown Manhattan. The murals are McCoy’s interpretation of a Christmas eve party, the idea of charity and the spirit of family. His third mural, pictured here, is the most personal. The image depicts McCoy’s grandparents and father in London’s Trafalgar Square in the Seventies. “My work often features lots of sentimental objects.” #wwdeye
For spring 2018, designers applied bold colors and cartoonish motifs on everything from sneakers and belts to key chains. See all the top men’s accessories trends on WWD.com. #wwdtrends (📷: George Chinsee; Prop Styling by @rnasti; Market Editor: @luiscampuzano)
The @dior-sponsored @guggenheim international gala pre-party has a history of drawing cool-girl musical acts to serenade the crowd –– and last night was no exception. @haimtheband performed songs both new and old, and lured a star-studded audience with the likes of Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Mamoudou Athie and more. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
In a partnership between the @metopera and the @englishnationalopera, “Marnie” was born. The opera, with costumes sponsored by @mrporterlive, is an adaptation of the 1961 thriller by Winston Graham. Arianne Phillips, who created the costumes, is no rookie: She’s styled Madonna for her tours and created costumes for a myriad of films in the past. Read WWD’s interview with Phillips, where she talks about her inspiration for the opera’s costumes on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@barneysnyc took a different approach to their holiday windows this year. Instead of Christmas decor, Barneys tapped @thehaasbrothers to tell a story of positivity, gratitude and inclusivity via heartwarming silliness and humor. “It’s about kids and it’s about coming together and being family and loving each other,” said Simon Haas. #wwdfashion (📷: @joshuascottphoto)
Beauty influencer @kandeejohnson makes her foray into hair care with a collaboration with @ogx_beauty — making it the first time that OGX has teamed up for a product creation. The collab includes shampoos and conditioners in three scents. At 39 and a mom, Johnson is a different profile than the emerging social media stars, but is considered one of the pioneers of the digital beauty influencer world. Read WWD’s interview with her on wwd.com, including the strangest beauty product she’s ever tried #wwdbeauty