Singapore Unique Hub for Malls
For anyone who cares about the future of the shopping mall, they need only look to Singapore for inspiration.
Three massive new malls on the island’s main retail strip are opening. In a region where shopping is a beloved national pastime, many are betting these malls can thrive despite a troubled global economy. The city-state’s famous Orchard Road, along with two resorts featuring the country’s first casinos opening next year, have been re-vamped as part of the government’s plans to make Singapore a regional tourist and shopping mecca and fuel a rebound from its worst recession ever.
But retailers on Orchard, which houses some 40 shopping centers over a 1.5 mile strip, could struggle for some time. Locals and tourists are spending less while the addition of hundreds of new shops in nearly a fifth more retail space will further squeeze profits. Retailers with items such as jewelry, cars and furniture have been the hardest hit, some say.
But many prefer the comfort and safety of shopping in Singapore, compared to Malaysia or Hong Kong, along with the availability of brands not seen in their home town. And some Singaporeans see frequent pilgrimages to the local mall as their patriotic duty, with others going as far as to say that materialism is one of the cornerstones of Singapore society.
In a city that lacks beaches, rolling hills and rain forests that some of its neighbors have, residents have little else to do with their free time, after all.