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Health, Beauty & Fashion

Big bargains at Johor Premium Outlets? Not so

S'poreans expected steeper discounts
The Straits Times - December 3, 2011
By: Ng Kai Ling
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Big bargains at Johor Premium Outlets? Not so JPO retailers sell leftover stock from past seasons and items made exclusively by the brands for their outlet shops. -- ST PHOTOS: RAJ NADARAJAN

YESTERDAY'S rain did not deter hundreds of Singaporeans who took an hour's drive to Johor Premium Outlets (JPO) in search of designer goods at high street prices.

But shoppers at the 16,258 sq m mall in Kulaijaya, which opened yesterday with most of the planned 80 stores up and running, went away with only a bag or two of purchases.

Singaporeans whom The Straits Times spoke to at the mall said the discounts were not as steep as those at outlet malls in the United States and Europe, even though JPO shops gave discounts of up to 70 per cent on selected products. For example, Zegna ties, which cost $290 each at the boutique in Takashimaya, were about 55 per cent less at RM315 (S$130). High heels from Salvatore Ferragamo, which typically sell for $790 here, cost RM1,040 (S$430).

Teacher Y.L. Tan, 36, said: 'If we wait for things to go on sale in Singapore, they are about the same price.'

Housewife Ginny Chu, 60, who spent about RM700 on a handbag, watch and a pair of sunglasses, said: 'Compared with prices in Singapore, they are definitely lower, but American brands like Coach are much cheaper in the US.'

Coach wrist pouches, which start from about US$39 (S$50) in the US, were selling for RM175 (S$70).

JPO is a joint venture between Malaysia's Genting Group and American real-estate company Simon Property Group whose outlets include the popular Woodbury Common Premium Outlets in New York state.

JPO retailers sell leftover stock from past seasons and items made exclusively by the brands for their outlet stores.

Store managers said that because theirs are outlet shops, the brands' signature products such as Salvatore Ferragamo's Varina flats and Levi's 501 jeans are not available.

Some shops, such as Polo Ralph Lauren, Brooks Brothers, Tommy Hilfiger and Versace, are expected to open only by Dec 11 when the mall holds its grand opening.

An 800-seat foodcourt is still being fitted out and only half its dining space and five stalls were operating.

Retailers said customer response has been overwhelming since the mall held an invitation-only sneak preview on Thursday.

Ms Nur Suria, store supervisor at Singapore shoe brand Charles & Keith, said sales hit RM20,000 that day and were at about RM6,000 by lunchtime yesterday. 'Our prices range from RM39 to RM250, so we sold a lot of items,' she added.

Over at the Michael Kors store, sales were already at about 80 per cent of the store's daily sales target at about 3pm.

Its supervisor Mohammad Sulaiman said the outlet has been wonderfully busy since it opened. The American brand sells apparel, handbags and fashion accessories.

Property agent Michelle Teo, 30, who left empty-handed after two hours of browsing yesterday, said she would give JPO another chance since it had just opened.

She added: 'Who knows, if the products and prices are good the next time I come, I may end up visiting once every two months.'



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