IT distributors not fazed by latest rules

IT distributors have expressed confidence the fresh Covid-19 restrictions announced by the government will not have a drastic impact on their operations, saying their online sales are expected to help offset any loss of earnings from the closure of their shops.

Parcel delivery operators say they already prepared business plans for stricter rules so they expect a minimal impact.

Takon Niyomthai, head of IT business development at Com7, a SET-listed IT retail chain, said the company dealt with a lockdown in the second quarter last year.

“We relocated inventory that supports [offline] shops to online sales,” Mr Takon said.

The firm’s shops in provinces locked down account for 30% of its total branches, though customer demand increased through online channels.

“Online orders are growing quite well now,” he said.

Advice, another local IT retail firm, believes the latest measures should not have much of an impact on its business.

“Our branches in Bangkok department stores and affected areas account for around 5% of our total branches across the country,” said Chukkrit Watcharasaksilp, Advice’s chief of sales and marketing.

He said the company’s inventory is meant to support both offline and online channels. The firm’s inventory comprises about 40% of the stock during a regular period, driven by strong demand, said Mr Chukkrit.

However, the overall IT market in Thailand has shrunk by 20% from last year after a shortage of computer chips and VGA cards, as well as the baht’s depreciation, which led to higher computer prices, particularly for gaming desktops and tailor-made computers, he said.

Alex Ng, chief executive of Kerry Express Thailand, a major parcel delivery operator, said the firm devised a business plan to weather pandemic changes since April this year.

He said the lockdown announced on Friday is still within the scope of the company’s plan and “minimal impact is expected”.

Meanwhile, Flash Express, a local delivery service unicorn, said the new restrictions do not target parcel delivery operations.

“If staff at one of our shops are infected, the shop will be closed for 2-3 days and new staff will be allocated from other locations to provide services at the shop, ensuring a continuity of service,” the firm said in a statement.

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