A more differentiated and customised shopping experience, as well as greater prominence for Singaporean craft and design could be in the works to strengthen Orchard Road’s appeal.
A proposal for a “special precinct” called Upper Orchard, comprising the area stretching from Tanglin Road to Scotts Road, has also been put forward by City Developments (CDL).
The district will have a “unique personality that sets it apart from the other malls on the other side of Orchard Road”, said a spokesman from Hong Leong Group, which owns CDL. “It is characterised by boutique malls with a unique tenant mix … When the Orchard Boulevard Station is completed, the accessibility and attraction of this precinct will be greatly enhanced,” he added, in response to TODAY’s queries earlier this week.
Along with several hotels such as The St Regis Singapore and Orchard Hotel, malls that are along the stretch include Palais Renaissance, Hilton Shopping Gallery, Forum Shopping Mall and Tanglin Shopping Centre. CDL and CDL Hospitality Trusts (CDLHT) — which are both subisidaries of Hong Leong — owns and manages several properties along the stretch.
Responding to TODAY’s queries, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) said that following the success of Keepers, a two-year project to showcase Singapore craft and design, it is exploring other ways to profile local designers. Keepers, which comprised pop-up stores in Orchard Road and Changi Airport, ended its run in January.
STB director of lifestyle precincts development Serene Tan noted that some of the designers’ collections were picked up by department stores, including TANGS and Robinsons. “Today, TANGS has a dedicated section for Singaporean designers, and Keepers is still being run under Carolyn Kan at the National Design Centre,” she said.
A survey commissioned by STB found that almost half of the shoppers who visited Keepers were tourists. Among other findings, almost 8 in 10 of the visitors said they were interested to see a similar showcase that is set up permanently in Singapore.
Apart from the proliferation of local and heritage brands, Ms Tan cited consumers’ increasing demand for experiential retail as a key emerging trend in Singapore’s retail scene.
“More mall owners and retailers are providing differentiated and personalised shopping experiences to attract consumers,” she said.
For example, last July, TANGS department store ran a pop-up barber shop in its Orchard Road outlet. Shoppers could also get a free shoe shine or get their sneakers customised by homegrown design label SBTG.
In March, ION Orchard hosted a series of entertainment events and art shows such as aerial circus acts and a balloon installation, Ms Tan said.
Source : Today – 21 May 2016