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Wednesday July 20, 2011

Johor Premium Outlet a dream come true for shopaholics

JOHOR BARU: Shopaholics will invade Kulai starting November, spinning Julius Caesar’s famous line into veni, vidi, Visa (I came, I saw, I shopped).

For these shoppers, their credit cards will perhaps be given a good workout when the Johor Premium Outlet (JPO) opens on Nov 11.

Student Rhian Nicole (pic), 17, from England, said there was now another reason to visit Malaysia more often.

“I do not follow trends blindly, so it doesn’t matter to me that the goods at JPO would be one season older. I just like to buy things that look good on me,” she said.

JPO is modelled after Woodbury Common Premium Outlets, which is about an hour’s drive from New York.

It is a must-stop for most Malay-sians who are in the New York area as it offers a huge collection of designer brands ranging from Armani Exchange to Zegna at big discounts.

Bank officer Ahmad Fikri Mohai-non, 26, said there was now no necessity for him to travel across the Causeway to Singapore to get desig-ner watches and bags.

Ahmad Fikri, who has a penchant for Gucci and Tissot products, said he would be eager to check out the discounts offered at JPO. Located on a 18ha site, JPO is now about 80% completed.

Johor Tourist Guides Association chairman Jimmy Leong said the association was eyeing an additional four million visitors per year once the outlet opens its doors.

“The opening of the outlet is timely as there is now the convenience of low-cost carriers. Besides, there are no other competing branded outlets in neighbouring countries,” he added.

Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) Johor chapter chairman Kenny Ngi said JPO would put the state on the tourism map.

“I think the outlet will increase the number of tourists coming to Johor. Travel agents in the state will definitely include JPO on their tour itinerary,” he said.

One shopaholic from Kuala Lumpur, Rosalind Longmate, said JPO would be “a dream come true”.

She said she did not mind the drive to Kulai but would plan ahead.

Another shopper, Isabel Lea Ang from Petaling Jaya, said: “This is indeed very exciting. It gives a lot of us in the middle income bracket the opportunity to own branded goods that we most probably cannot afford to buy at the malls.”

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