KUALA Lumpur is fast catching up as an attractive retail destination that offers a wide spectrum of lifestyle brand names, with a wide choice of happening places to meet ones fancies.
The improving economic climate and the peoples rising affluence have translated into more shopping trips and higher spending, and a more robust retail sector.
With so many mega malls and complexes in the city and other parts of the Klang Valley, shoppers are spoilt for choice. The onus is on complex managers to be creative and to build up their centres reputation through the right merchandise mix and crowd-pulling events.
As in all property ventures, a shopping centre's location is still the primary factor that decides its success or failure.
Those sited in the inner city or Kuala Lumpur's Golden Triangle are the top picks due to their accessibility and proximity to other shopping favourites. They include Sungei Wang Plaza, Lot 10, Suria KLCC, the Bintang Walk shopping enclave and Mid Valley Megamall.
The mushrooming of new townships in the periphery of the city have also contributed to the growing number of new complexes, not to mention the expansion of existing shopping centres. Hot favourites in this category include Sunway Pyramid, Subang Parade and One Utama.
The ringgits relatively higher purchasing power vis-a-vis other foreign currencies also make Malaysia a worthwhile shopping destination for foreign tourists as they can get more out of their money.
Underscoring Malaysias retail potential in the international arena is the Paris-based International Real Estate Federation, or Fiabci, bestowing its highest accolade on Suria KLCC.
The shopping centre won the Fiabci Prix d Excellence Retail Category Award 2004 last Friday beating the best retail centres from around the world.
Known as the Oscars of the real estate industry, the Prix dExcellence Awards recognise projects that show excellence in five principal areas global concept and description; architecture and design; development and construction; community benefits and environmental impact; and financials and marketing.
This is the second award for Suria KLCC, which won the Fiabci Award of Distinction in Retail Development for the Malaysian chapter in 1999.
The six-level shopping centre, with a gross area of 1.5 million sq ft and nett lettable area of one million sq ft, anchors the base of the Petronas Twin Towers, the world's tallest towers, overlooking a magnificent 50-acre park.
For its current financial year ending March 31, 2005, the shopping centre has targeted to achieve RM1.4bil in retail turnover, up from RM1.23bil previously. It is working closely with its 138 retailers to meet the target.
One of the key success factors of Suria KLCC is its ability to renew itself in line with the centres Always Something New tagline.
The latest external façade of Suria KLCC has a twist of Malaysian flavour. For this new feature, it collaborated with 10 well-known Malaysian batik designers to come out with banners in batik designs to drape the frontage of its Ampang and Ramlee entrances.
Shoppers can also look forward to new and upgraded stores in Suria KLCC. The shopping centre boasts some of the world's biggest names, from international fashion labels to jewellery and accessories. They include Gucci, Prada, Montblanc, Hermes, Tiffany & Co, Cartier, Piaget and Dunhill.
With all the new happenings, Suria KLCC is set to remain at the cutting edge of retail mix and be the destination for fashion, leisure, entertainment and food.