Channelnewsasia.com | Posted: 19 March 2013 2349 hrs
SINGAPORE : Singapore's prime shopping belt Orchard Road is set to welcome a new mall, Orchard Gateway, around November this year.
Its marketing agent Savills said 80 per cent of the retail space has already been pre-committed.
And there will be a few new-to-market brands that will appeal to fashion-forward shoppers.
The mixed-development straddles both sides of Orchard Road and has 172,000 square feet of net lettable retail space.
Savills said the mall has managed to snag some big international names.
They include American chain Crate & Barrel, which will open its five-storey flagship store there, spanning over 20,000 square feet.
There is also multi-label fashion company I.T Hong Kong and Swatch - which will open its third mega store in Asia at Orchard Gateway.
Sulian Claire Tan-Wijaya, senior director at Savills, added: "Some of the other brand names will include J.Lindeberg, which is a fashion brand from Sweden. They will be introducing their ladies range for the first time in Singapore. There is also the US shoe brand Red Wings shoes - they will be opening their first concept store in Singapore.
"Also coming in to Orchard Gateway is Nike - they are introducing a new concept called Amplify women. We have also dedicated the entire fourth floor just for men, so it's...very much skewed towards men's fashion. There is also UK brand Religion, which has never been to Singapore."
To cater to younger shoppers, Savills said the mall also has up-and-coming fashion blogshops.
Aside from the retail offerings, Orchard Gateway also has 37,000 square feet of office space and a 500-room hotel.
Some analysts said nearly 2 million square feet of retail space will come on stream in Singapore this year. About 18 per cent of the space will be located along Orchard Road, with the rest to be built in the suburban areas.
In recent years, retail rents between malls in the regional centres and Orchard Road have narrowed.
CBRE said prime Orchard Road rents were around S$31.60 per square foot per month compared to S$29.75 in suburban malls in the fourth quarter of last year.
Desmond Sim, associate director at CBRE Research, said: "The past two years, the rental premiums for Orchard Road and suburban malls, they have probably compressed from 20 over per cent to close to 10 per cent.
"Although the rents have been compressed quite a fair bit, at the end of the day, Orchard Road with the tourists influx still commands a premium."
Barring any unforeseen events, analysts expect retail sales to remain healthy this year, supported by tourism and domestic demand.
Ku Swee Yong, CEO of International Property Advisor, said: "Retailers should not have problems with getting the revenue part of the business in place, the issue in the past two years has been the curb on employment of foreigners, the foreign worker levy has gone up, foreign worker ratio has gone down, and so for the retail players, it is more of an issue of manpower and manpower cost."
Market watchers added that the labour shortage and increasing resistance against further rental increase from tenants will also affect retail rents going forward.
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