Half of Marina Bay Sands retail space taken up

Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands integrated resort will unveil details of plans for its retail space after the Chinese New Year in January next year.

Recent reports said its parent company, Las Vegas Sands, is facing financial difficulties. But the Singapore firm remains confident about prospects for its retail business.

The S$5.4-billion Marina Bay Sands project is still being built. When completed, it will have 800,000 square feet of retail space which can house about 300 stores.

The Marina Bay Sands Shoppes will be 20 per cent smaller than Singapore’s largest shopping mall at VivoCity.

VivoCity has about 1.04 million square feet of net lettable floor space. Prior to the construction of VivoCity, Suntec City Mall was the largest shopping centre in Singapore with 888,000 square feet of retail space.

The resort said half of that space has already been taken up, and will feature over 30 brands that are new to Singapore.

David Sylvester, vice president, Retail Development Asia, Las Vegas Sands, said: “We will have a lot of leading-edge retail… It will be a mixture of European, some American brands, some Japanese, some Korean.”

Marina Bay Sands said it would start marketing campaigns to attract more retailers to lease shops at the resort from February next year. These efforts will include trade shows and talks in Europe.

However, there are currently no plans to adjust rentals to match the slowing economy, and Sands remains positive about the future.

“Obviously, there have been a lot of concerns about the economic environment globally, but everybody has been very positive on the Marina Bay Sands because by the time we open, we are talking about end of 2009. We’ve got to think that things will turn around by then,” said Mr Sylvester.

Competition in the retail sector is expected to be stiff in 2009, with four new malls coming up along Orchard Road, Singapore’s prime retail belt.

The four malls are ION, Orchard Central, Mandarin Gallery and 313@Somerset. Sands said its retail operations will complement these new malls rather than compete with the offerings there.

The retail component of the resort will open in two phases – the luxury stores are due to do business at the end of next year, while the rest will be ready in 2010.

Las Vegas Sands has transferred about 16 staff from its Hong Kong office to Singapore to drive its retail marketing and leasing operations at Marina Bay Sands.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 4 Dec 2008

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