Retailers at Changi’s T3 say business bad, 6 months after opening

With more than 100 retail establishments, Singapore Changi Airport’s Terminal 3 is touted as the latest shopping destination for ‘mall-crazy’ Singaporeans. But six months since its opening, retailers said business is suffering.

Changi Airport’s T3 public area has 31 outlets. Retailers said they are barely making ends, though takings over the weekends may be slightly better.

Channel NewsAsia checked on some 15 stores. Most did not want to speak on camera but all said they have been struggling to meet overhead costs.

Some shops said takings have dropped by up to 70 per cent, compared to when T3 first opened early this year. If this continues, some said they may not renew their lease, which lasts for three years.

Mohd Fadly Mohd Nor, Retail Supervisor, Outdoor Lifestyle, said: “After the first two months of Terminal 3 opening, the crowd has died down a bit. Maybe because the novelty is not there anymore.”

Karen Seow, Retail Supervisor, Helen Accessories, said: “Some of the things like clothing or shoes, we don’t have it here. Actually, there’s not much… shopping (variety) here.”

Some Singaporeans agreed that T3 is not a retail haven. One shopper said: “I guess there’s a lot more improvement to be made. You can’t get much variety here.”

Retailers said another problem is the mall’s layout and that is the reason why many people are unaware of several shopping clusters at T3.

The authorities put the slowdown to several factors, including retailers setting too high an expectation when they tendered for their lease and the fact that pegging an airport as a shopping destination is a new concept in Singapore.

Foo Sek Min, Senior Director, Airport Management Group, Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, said: “This is something new to us and the tenants. It’s not exactly like a typical shopping mall.

“So we really need to understand what people are buying and what they are not buying. We will work with the tenants and we want to help them.”

So far, the authority has extended rental assistance for half a year, starting this month, and it is hoping that things will perk up for both retailers and shoppers. – CNA/vm

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 18 Jul 2008

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