Orchard malls decking up to stay ahead

Orchard malls decking up to stay ahead

In a bid to outdo their competitors, several mall owners are resorting to splashing out more to enhance their retail assets along the prime Orchard Road shopping belt.
Even relatively new malls such as CapitaLand's three-year old Ion Orchard are working at improving its offerings. It plans to create a new beauty cluster, which will comprise South-east Asia's first standalone Yves Saint Laurent Beaute boutique store and several new-to-market brands such as VMV Hypoallergenics, among others.

Jasmine Chua, director of retail management at Ion Orchard, said: "The introduction of a dedicated beauty cluster will further enhance our unique retail mix of international flagship brands and new-to-market concept stores.

A CapitaLand spokesperson revealed that Ion Orchard's basement Food Hall has been earmarked for a revamp, which will be completed later this year.

Just next door, Wisma Atria, owned by Starhill Global Reit, is undergoing refurbishment works for around a quarter of its net lettable area.

Aimed at enhancing the mall's positioning along Orchard Road, the improvements - in the shape of an updated facade and the introduction of several new-to-market labels - are expected to be completed around September. Earlier this year, popular lifestyle brand Tommy Bahama and luxury lifestyle label Tory Burch opened at Wisma Atria.

Other established shopping malls such as The Heeren and Tangs Orchard are also expected to dish out new offerings by the end of 2013 and 2015 respectively, while the integration of Plaza Singapore and The Atrium @ Orchard is slated to be completed by the year's end, according to the Orchard Road Business Association (ORBA).

Despite the flurry of upgrading activity going on along Orchard Road, some consultants expect spending by mall owners to slow down as demand and rents start to weaken along the prime retail belt.

Reflecting this, prevailing rents along Orchard Road have stopped rising, with monthly prime ground floor rents in the locale dipping 1.9 per cent quarter-on-quarter to $37.58 per square foot in the second quarter after being unchanged in Q1.

Source: Business Times – 2 August 2012