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Entertainment, Food & Beverage

Shoppers, tour firms gear up for new Johor mall

Opening on Dec 2, it will offer up to 65% discount on designer brands
The Straits Times - October 31, 2011
By: Ng Kai Ling
| More
Shoppers, tour firms gear up for new Johor mall Johor will soon see an outlet such as this one in The American-themed Scitech Premium Outlet Mall in Beijing.

EVEN more bargain hunters could soon be crossing the Causeway to Johor when a new mall opens, offering discounts of up to 65 per cent on designer brands.

Analysts and industry players said Johor Premium Outlets, which opens on Dec 2, is likely to persuade many shoppers in Singapore, including tourists, to make the one-hour drive to Kulaijaya.

But stores here are unfazed, saying the new mall will probably not harm their businesses, as its products are different.

Johor Premium Outlets is a joint venture between the Genting Group and United States real estate company Simon Property Group, whose outlets include the popular Woodbury Common Premium Outlets in upstate New York.

Mr Ron Tan, 30, who has shopped at outlets in London, Paris and New York, said he is looking forward to it. 'I got good bargains from designer brands like Dolce & Gabbana and Ferragamo before. Hopefully, with our stronger currency, the discounts will be even better.'

The Johor mall, the chain's 70th and its first in South-east Asia, will offer large discounts on brands such as Gap and Guess, and even high-end designer labels such as Burberry, Salvatore Ferragamo and Ermenegildo Zegna.

To sweeten the deal, regular shuttle bus services will also ply the route daily between Singapore and Johor Premium Outlets. The self-contained destination will also have an 800-seater food court, four restaurants and three cafes.

Retail analysts said well-travelled Singaporeans who are familiar with the discount chain will likely flock there.

Real estate consultancy CB Richard Ellis' (CBRE's) director of retail services Letty Lee said shopping for designer goods at out-of-town malls is already popular among Singaporeans who visit the US, Europe and Japan. She added: 'When people go overseas, they take a bus for one to two hours to go to the outlets so a one-hour drive across the Causeway is definitely attractive.'

Mr Danny Yeo, group managing director of property consultancy Knight Frank, noted that the new mall's pre-Christmas opening is timely, as Christmas is a peak shopping season.

'It will be extremely popular among Singaporeans, and there will be some impact on retailers here for sure,' he said.

Ms Jean Marie Pin Harry, general manager of joint venture company Genting Simon, said Singapore is a key target market. She added: 'The proximity of Johor Premium Outlets aims to boost tourist arrivals to Singapore, enhancing the competitiveness of the retail market and its position as a shopping destination.'

Travel agents here are already planning four-day tours for tourists to Singapore that include a day trip to Johor to shop. Fascinating Holidays assistant director Hamid Samad said his company hopes to soft-launch it early next year.

Ms Alicia Seah, CTC Travel's senior vice-president for marketing and public relations, said her company also has plans for similar trips. 'The new offering complements the attractions we have here. We could be like Hong Kong, where tourists also make the trip to Shenzhen.'

Mr Yeo said such day trips could mean losing one day of tourist spending, but Ngee Ann Polytechnic tourism lecturer Michael Chiam said the flipside is such tours will mean Singapore has more to offer tourists, and attracts more visitors.

Meanwhile, shopping malls and retailers here said they are not worried by the potential competition from Johor.

Paragon mall's senior manager of advertising and promotions Ina Se said: 'Typically, the outlet malls in other cities such as London, New York, Paris and Tokyo co-exist with the full-price retail stores, as they... cater to different target markets and are sited in the outskirts.'

CBRE's Ms Lee agreed: 'The outlets will definitely be popular among Singaporeans but if the stores choose their products carefully, there will not be any cannibalisation.'



Food and flora at Gardens by the Bay