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Entertainment, Food & Beverage

More shops, eateries to stay open

Many bow to demand; some hope to draw Valentine's Day shoppers.
The Straits Times - February 8, 2013
By: Debbie Lee, Sabrina Tiong and Paige Lim
| More
More shops, eateries to stay open Restaurants are making special arrangements to remain open, like hiring part-timers. Ion Orchard restaurant Sho Teppan's assistant manager Aileen Bayog (centre) with part-timers Charles Edison Celetaria (left), 17, and Yin Myint Thu Tun, 19. -- ST PHOT

SHOPPERS and those eating out will get more options during the first day of the Chinese New Year.

Retailers and eateries traditionally shut down during this time, but a check with several major malls showed that the majority of their tenants will stay open due to demand and to cater to Valentine's Day shoppers.

All 300 outlets at Marina Bay Sands, for instance, will operate through the Chinese New Year period. More than 60 per cent of stores at Ion Orchard will also be open on Sunday and Monday.

Those which opt to stay open are mostly food and beverage and entertainment outlets, said a spokesman for CapitaMalls Asia, which operates Ion Orchard and other well-known malls such as Bugis Junction and Plaza Singapura.

At Ion, the Sho Teppan restaurant will stay open on the first day of Chinese New Year for the first time - due to popular demand.

"Our regular customers asked us to open," said the outlet's assistant manager Aileen Bayog, 35.

Other stores said they are staying open because their landlords have asked them to.

"Several malls will be open during the Chinese New Year, and we are supporting them," said a spokesman for Wing Tai Asia, which runs clothing stores such as Topshop, G2000 and Dorothy Perkins.

Meanwhile, restaurants are counting on hungry shoppers and those who prefer to eat out during Chinese New Year.

Said Lerk Thai spokesman Chloe Sng: "There is still a group of customers who do not celebrate Chinese New Year and will be out looking for food."

In return for working on the first day of Chinese New Year, businesses will give staff extra pay and days off in return.

But some still do not want to work on the first day, forcing owners to find ways to cope with their labour shortfall.

At Xpressflower.com, 60 per cent of its temporary staff consists of school leavers waiting for their results, said the company's managing director Soh Yee How. All but two of its 13 outlets will be open during Chinese New Year to cater to Valentine's Day orders.

"We would not be able to cope with the demand if we did not open on the first two days of Chinese New Year," he said.

Restaurant chain Han's will also keep six of its 20 outlets open on the first day of Chinese New Year.

Staff from closed restaurants will be transferred to those which are open that day, said its head of systems operations Foo Yong Hong, 33.

"Our management finds it a promising way of operating, as the number of our customers goes up by as much as 40 per cent during the holiday period," he added.

This is all good news for shoppers, who welcomed the convenience of shopping on a public holiday.

"It's useful when I have last-minute shopping to do," said footballer Anaz Hadee, 30.

Others said they would be busy visiting relatives, but did not rule out a trip to the malls when they were done.

"The stores would have shorter queues on that day, and it's not so packed," said saleswoman Brenda Lim, 32.

ldebbie@sph.com.sg

paigelim@sph.com.sg

sabrinat@sph.com.sg

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