H&M, Uniqlo and Cotton On muscle into the Malaysian south

KLUANG: Kluang Mall in Johor has expanded its portfolio with the opening of Uniqlo, H&M and Cotton On. Uniqlo opened its doors on Wednesday, while H&M and Cotton On opened in mid-November and last week, respectively.

“We are proud to be introducing three new major international brands into Kluang Mall,” said Tenaga Nusantara Sdn Bhd executive director, Tey Fui Kien, to theedgeproperty.com.

Opened in 2008, Kluang Mall was developed by Majupadu Development Sdn Bhd and is managed by its related company, Tenaga Nusantara Sdn Bhd. It serves a primary population catchment of 315,000 people.

“There is a population base of over 700,000, with more than 300,000 from Kluang and exceeding 400,000 [including] Batu Pahat. This is a significant market, which is at least one and a half hours’ drive from Johor Bahru, so we felt it was time to bring in international retailers,” said Tey.

Negotiations to bring in the three brands started in mid-2014 and were concluded in mid-2015, following a comprehensive market survey in 2013 that highlighted demand for a larger variety of brands in the mall.

“Just last month, in November, our foot traffic [was] more than half a million visitors, an increase of about 7% compared with the same month last year,” Tey said. “Greater traffic is expected for the peak monthly visits of December right until we usher in the Lunar New Year.”

With 340,000 sq ft of retail space and 931 car park bays, Kluang Mall is central Johor’s largest lifestyle shopping mall and touts its 18 ft-high shopfronts, spacious walkways and a contemporary design.

“Our goal is to have an experiential retail space which is fun and exciting, beyond the brick-and-mortar shopping experience. Kluang Mall offers over 60,000 sq ft of [local and international] fashion.

“For an aspirational market like Kluang, functional hypermarkets and malls are no longer enough. Shoppers demand experiential shopping with lifestyle-themed decor and ambience and family-friendly events and activities during the weekends,” Tey added.

Situated approximately 20km from the North-South Expressway, the mall is anchored by Pacific hypermarket and department store, MBO Cinemas, Popular Bookstores and Ampang SuperBowl.

“Since the 6% GST implementation in April, we’ve noticed a mixed set of results,” Tey said. “Some of our tenants continue to record growth, while others have slowed. Part of the reason could be attributed to the transition period of tenant relocations during the renovation phase for H&M.”

On the current economic situation, Tey said that although spending for major brands has been steady, there was still a need to brand the mall differently by introducing new events and activities for consumers.

The article was first published in The Edge Property pullout, Dec 4, 2015, which appears every Friday with The Edge Financial Daily. Tap here to download your personal copy of The Edge Property pullout for free.

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