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Health, Beauty & Fashion

Mall rat race

Scotts Square is geared up to make a bang when it opens next month with new-to-market brands like Michael Kors
The Straits Times - October 14, 2011
By: Karen Tee
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Mall rat race -- ST FILE PHOTO

Mallrats who prowl the Orchard Road district will have a new shopping centre mall to nest in from next month.

Scotts Square, on the site of the former Scotts Shopping Centre, will be the only mall to open along the prime shopping district this year and next.

The 75,000 sq ft mall is hoping to make its mark with new-to-market brands and flagship stores when it opens its doors on Nov 8.

Some of the highlights include Singapore's first Michael Kors boutique, South-east Asia's first stand-alone store by French accessories brand Tila March, and the largest multi-label On Pedder boutique here, stocking designer shoes, bags and accessories.

Scotts Shopping Centre and its adjoining serviced apartment complex, The Ascott, were bought by Wheelock Properties for $345 million in 2004.

It was known as a high-end mall, targeted at women, with outlets including multi-label designer boutique Pois and beauty brand Kiehl's.

In 1985, the mall also made headlines for housing Singapore's first air-conditioned food court, Picnic, a popular haunt in its heyday.

The building was demolished in 2007.

Ms Stephanie Tay, general manager of asset management and corporate communications for Wheelock Properties, says the new boutique luxury mall aims for an intimate shopping experience, with a well-curated mix of new-to-market and new concept stores including designer labels, specialty services and dining options.

Singapore-based restaurant Wild Honey, which is known for its all-day breakfast menu, will open its second outlet here.

FairPrice Finest supermarket will also set up shop.

Ms Letty Lee, director of retail services at real estate consultancy CBRE, says the mall's street-level boutiques, which include Michael Kors, Hermes and Anne Fontaine, will catch the attention of passers-by.

'Every shop space in Scotts Square also faces a central atrium, maximising their visibility within the mall,' she adds.

Even if the economy softens, Ms Lee is bullish on Scotts Square doing well.

She says Orchard Road malls are operating at 'almost full occupancy with new-to-market brands continuing to actively explore taking up Orchard Road space, encouraged by fresh opportunities offered by newly available large prime space, including the recent exit of Borders at Wheelock Properties'.

Due to the tight supply and high demand, Orchard Road rents hit $31.60 per square foot in the third quarter of this year, its biggest quarterly increase since 2008.

Scotts Square's opening in the prime shopping district is a departure from the current trend of malls springing up in the heartland.

At least a dozen would have opened between this year and the end of next year, spanning all points of the island (see facing page).

Retail experts say suburban malls tend to cater to residents' needs with services such as F&B outlets, supermarkets and cinemas.

On the other hand, 'high-end international retailers or Michelin Star restaurants will want to stay in the Orchard or Marina area', says MsSulian Tan-Wijaya, senior director of retail and lifestyle at real-estate firm Savills Singapore.

'Just like New York's Fifth Avenue and London's Bond Street, Orchard Road is home to luxury brands, and many new-to-market brands are looking for their first Singapore flagship,' she says.



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