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Entertainment, Food & Beverage

FairPrice explains Hougang store closure

FairPrice said on Tuesday that it shut down its outlet in the Hougang Community Centre because it was 'no longer a viable business option'
The Straits Times - July 13, 2011
By: Tessa Wong
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FairPrice explains Hougang store closure -- ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

SUPERMARKET giant NTUC FairPrice said yesterday that it shut down its outlet in the Hougang Community Centre because it was 'no longer a viable business option'.

It was responding to an article published by The Online Citizen (TOC), a sociopolitical website, which said some residents wondered if FairPrice closed it in order to 'boycott' an opposition-held ward. Hougang, a single-seat ward, is held by the Workers' Party (WP).

FairPrice's managing director of business groups Gerry Lee said 'the decision to open a new store or to close down an existing store are commercial decisions driven by factors such as profitability of the store and competition'.

The lease for the Hougang CC store expires at the end of this month. 'We decided to close down this store as it was no longer a viable business option for us,' he said. He also noted that two stores in Queenstown and Jurong East were shut down in recent months for commercial reasons.

The Hougang CC store opened in 2008. In a Straits Times interview last year, former PAP candidate and former grassroots adviser for Hougang Eric Low cited his facilitation of the outlet's set-up as one of his achievements.

Although it was the only store within Hougang's electoral boundaries, there are five other FairPrice supermarkets in the neighbourhood with Hougang addresses. Three are in Aljunied GRC, which is also held by the WP. The other two are in Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC and Ang Mo Kio GRC.

TOC's article said some residents questioned the closure, given the close links between the PAP and the National Trades Union Congress. It quoted one resident as saying that he felt the closure was linked to the PAP's loss of Hougang and Aljunied to WP in the May 7 General Election. Other residents said the closure could be due to high rentals.

Staff from the office of Hougang MP Yaw Shin Leong attributed it to the expiry of FairPrice's lease.

A spokesman for YES supermarket, which has three outlets in Tampines, confirmed yesterday that it will take over the space vacated by FairPrice.



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