THAILAND. King Power International will tonight unveil the refurbished and expanded King Power Rangnam downtown duty free store in 22,000sq m of space after an investment of Bt2.5 billion (US$74 million), writes Dermot Davitt in Bangkok [look out for Dermot’s full, exclusive story and interviews, replete with extensive Picture Galleries, coming soon].

Opened originally in 2006, King Power’s biggest downtown store has undergone a transformation into a spectacular shopping, leisure and entertainment destination.

Space, light, visibility and wayfinding is improved throughout, incorporating many new digital features. London-based The Design Solution partnered with King Power on the design and planning for the three-level complex (the full story on the opening will follow tomorrow).

The elegant walkway through the fashion boutique zone, one highlight of many from the new King Power Rangnam store

King Power International Group CEO Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha said: “The new-look King Power Rangnam will revolutionise the image of downtown duty free retail, integrating products and services to meet the needs of both domestic shoppers and world travellers.

Signage flagging up the Grand Opening of King Power Rangnam downtown store, which takes place this evening

“It represents more than one of Bangkok’s major landmarks. King Power Rangnam is a symbol of thriving tourism in Thailand and the industry’s importance to its people and our economy. It is where world-class brands are continually introduced to Thailand and where Thai products are given a gateway to the global marketplace.”

Speaking to The Moodie Davitt Report, he said: “This is a milestone for our company. Our staff, management and owners have put in much effort to make this a flagship for our family and company.”

King Power International Group CEO Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha (right) tells The Moodie Davitt Report Publisher Dermot Davitt (left): “The new-look King Power Rangnam will revolutionise the image of downtown duty free retail.” [Note a certain trophy behind them: it is the English Premier League trophy, won by King Power International-owned Leicester City Football Club in 2015-16; arguably the greatest sporting shock of all time).

He added: “It was time to do something new. The world is changing, the market is changing and the behaviour of customers, tourists, even staff, is changing. We wanted to change some perceptions of what a duty free shop should be. It’s not just about shopping; you can come here to eat or be entertained and we have a programme of events lined up each month that people will find attractive.

“We did a lot of research to learn the right ingredients to serve the customer. 18 January 2018 is the right time to open the new King Power Rangnam, which is how we have renamed this complex. That identifies it as different from our other locations.

A lavish beauty zone is among the store highlights

Highlights include the upscale ground floor fashion area, housing boutiques from leading luxury names. Among them are Prada, Ferragamo, Burberry, Valentino, Bottega Veneta, Coach, Emporio Armani, Stuart Weitzman, Longchamp, Alexander McQueen, Moncler, Saint Laurent, Gucci, Tod’s, Bally, Tumi and Michael Kors. The ground floor is also home to a dedicated sunglasses zone featuring over 30 brands.

Some 22 watch boutiques and shop-in-shops anchor the second floor retail area, with names such as Rolex, Omega, TAG Heuer, Chopard, Montblanc, IWC, Jaeger LeCoultre, Vacheron Constantin, Blancpain, Tiffany, Swarovski (including jewellery) and more.

Crystal clear: Swarovski dazzles with its latest boutique incarnation

Beyond this lie multi-brand fashion watches and fashion zones (brands include Lacoste, Paul & Shark and Calvin Klein). A new athleisure area features Adidas, Under Armour and Nike, plus a fashion jewellery store that houses Folli Follie, Thomas Sabo and Grosse.

The same level is home to a vast and striking beauty zone, with many high-class personalised brand executions. Skincare, a vital category for the retailer at this store, carries an enhanced range of brands in a zone that is well signposted and easy to navigate. The elegant P&C zone in total carries over 80 brands.

One of the guests at tonight’s Grand Opening will win this luxury car, as King Power prepares to host a spectacular evening

The top floor is a showcase for Thailand and Thai products, with wood used extensively in the fixtures to create a distinctive atmosphere. Delicatessen goods, handcrafted souvenirs, wellness items and Thai wines & spirits stand out in this zone, which is adjacent to a street food-style Thai food hub with many famed Bangkok restaurant names represented.

The food & beverage range features a series of popular downtown restaurant brands, brought specially to the new complex to attract locals and visitors alike.

*We’ll bring you images, video and further comment on the store opening in the coming hours, following tonight’s Grand Opening.