Hypermarkets - a growing trend

WHAT’S up on the retail scene? Well, more and more hypermarkets and shopping centres are opening. 

As usual I have been going on my random checks. Here’s a brief report: 

·Berjaya Times Square Kuala Lumpur: After a four-year delay, this huge shopping centre in Jalan Imbi, is set to open in October this year. A monorail is in place to fetch shoppers right to its doorstep. There are 4,500 car-parking bays with parking for up to 20 passenger coaches. However, shoppers should consider taking the light rail transit (LRT). 

I took a LRT to this centre one night and found it very convenient. I had parked my car at the Asia Jaya Putra LRT station in Petaling Jaya. It costs only RM2 to travel to the Masjid Jamek station. From there I switched to the Star LRT to the nearby Pudu station (RM2). It is only five minutes walk to the Berjaya Times Square and other shopping centres in the area. 

No parking problem or traffic congestion.  

The Berjaya Times Square boasts of 7.5 million sq ft of built-up floor area in a single structure, making it one of the largest buildings in the world and the largest development of its kind in the Asia-Pacific region. The 3.45 million sq ft shopping mall with 916 individual shops and retail anchors is also the largest in Malaysia. The hotel and service suites take up 1.7 million sq ft and the car park/building services another 2.35 million sq ft. 

The project’s developer Berjaya Times Square Sdn Bhd has signed up tenants for 40% of the retail space. 

“We have many people wanting to become tenants but we are very selective,” said Berjaya Times Square senior general manager Harminder Singh Bagrian. 

He said this after a ceremony to welcome the tenants recently.  

“We would like to thank our tenants for their support in choosing Berjaya Times Square as the destination for their business expansion. It is positioning itself as a leading retail and family entertainment destination in Asia. Our anchor tenants such as De- benhams Department Store, Ma- aysia’s first IMAX 3D theatre and the indoor theme park will set us apart from our competitors. With the strong support from local and international retailers, we are confident it will be one of the most successful shopping and entertainment destinations in Malaysia,” he added. 

New brands making their debut in the Malaysian retail market include The Natural Source (personal care products) from Australia, Wine Culture (Fine Dining Restaurant), and BYSI (ladies fashion) from Singapore. 

Some retailers will also be setting up their new concept stores. For example, the First Mobile Group will display all its state-of-the-art Samsung digital gadgets and electronic products under one roof. 

Other attractions are the 380,000-sq ft indoor theme park (four thrill rides); children’s area (10 family and children’s rides; Kidz Theatre and party rooms and a children's retail zone called Kidz Town); 56-lane bowling centre (largest in the country); retailtainment zone called the “Grafitti Street”; 200,000-sq ft Extreme Sports Arena (the largest of its kind in the world) and a two-level 320,000-sq ft food and entertainment centre (indoor square with 65 outlets, nine cinemas). 

·Tesco Mutiara Damansara: After shopping at the new Tesco and Giant hypermarkets in Klang over the past few weeks, I popped over to the Tesco in Mutiara Damansara on the second day of its opening recently. Frankly it was a first bad impression. 

I had arrived early at 9.15am and the guard there refused to let me park my car in the large car park as the hypermarket was not opened yet. When I reached the main entrance, some shoppers were waiting for the door to open at 9.30am. 

In all fairness, most of the staff members in the hypermarket were polite and helpful. However, surprisingly there was no crowd unlike the large crowds during the first few days at the opening of Puchong’s Tesco. Cars only started to stream in around 11 am. 

l Pasaraya Hiong Kong in Bukit Rahman Putra: This decade-old medium-sized shopping mall in Sungai Buloh, Selangor, is packed with people most of the time. Most shoppers are from the housing estates in the area. Prices there are reasonable. All the shop lots are occupied. 

·KB Commercial Centre or Pusat Perdagangan KB: This RM200mil development on two parcels of state land at Section 16, Jalan Hamzah, Bandar Kota Baru, will have 2 phases: Phase 1 will be the KB Mall, KB Bazaar and a 300-room business class hotel. Phase 2 will have 96 units of 3 and 4-storey shop offices and a bus terminal. 

The groundbreaking ceremony was held on Feb 19. The KB Mall and Bazaar will be completed towards the end of 2004.  

The KB Mall will have 132 retail lots with gross built-up area of 869,530 sq ft and 332,201-sq ft nett lettable area. There will be 1,000 car park and 452 motorcycle bays. The ground floor will house the first hypermarket in town. 

The first floor level will have a department store and other specialty shops including a food court, family entertainment centre and bookstores while the second floor will have a 30-lane bowling centre. The KB Bazaar with 236 shop lots will have a 121,192-sq ft gross built-up area, 98 car park and 66 motorcycle bays. 

Richard Chan, principal of RCMC Sdn Bhd, the complex's consultant said the KB Mall would be one of the biggest shopping centres in the east coast.  

He said there was a need for such a mall as there were about half a million people living in and around Kota Baru. 

“We’re confident that the KB Mall will do well as it has a good concept and retail mix. Many new retailers are moving to Kota Baru where the retail market there is relatively untapped. Presently there are no big shopping centres in Kota Baru,” he said. 

The average rental rates for ground floor retail lots will be RM8 psf to RM12 psf and RM6 psf to RM10 psf for first-floor lots.  

Chan, the president of Malaysia Association for Shopping and Highrise Complex Management, said the Klang Valley was saturated with shopping centres and hypermarkets and many of them were not doing well.  

“The hypermarkets and big shopping centres are killing some of the smaller malls,” he said. 

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