Setting his sights on overhauling mall

  • Focus
  • Friday, 13 Feb 2015

Sogo (KL) Department Store Sdn Bhd stands at a pivotal turning point with a view to up the ante on growth, as it comes of age celebrating its 21st anniversary.

Aiming to revive the iconic shopping centre in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, Sogo KL group chief operating officer Raymond Teo Kheng San is gearing up for the year ahead with an optimistic view on the soon-to-be-implemented goods and services tax (GST).

“There is a lot of hype about it but if you look at GST in the long term, there may be a one- to two-month spike prior to its implementation, then a sharp drop; I think it will eventually stabilise after a year to 18 months.

“History shows the ability people have of adjusting, this may take a while because GST will be implemented across the board but things will even out,” he said.

Teo, who recently joined the company, has set his sights on overhauling Sogo KL’s image to advance with the times.

“Our aim is to be the leading department store chain of choice in all major cities, cater to the differentiated consumer groups and give them a compelling shopping experience.

“Despite challenging market, we have managed to hold our numbers last year and so far this year, expecting a projected marginal growth with a single-digit increase for 2015.

“As a company, we must be more proactive so we will be working with more aggressive marketing plans and campaigns to help mitigate the effects of the soft market situation to drive domestic consumption,” he said.

This works well into its anniversary celebrations, which kicked off with a 10-day 21st Anniversary Bonanza in January.

Its current 21st Anniversary Grand Sale is ongoing until March 1.

The mall has also lined up events for every month of this year.

Its top-to-bottom renovations is another initiative, involving changes made to all the departments by year-end at the Kuala Lumpur store, with the exception of the supermarket.

The departments that have been given a massive facelift thus far are the Ladies Gallery, Men’s Connection, Fashion Arena and Home Centre, while upcoming upgrades involve the Children’s World department by April and the Beauty Arcade by September.

“Our customers come from as far as Kelantan, Sabah and Sarawak, and these days they are more sophisticated in their tastes.

“Their expectations have changed, so it is about time for us to reach out to them and expand. We must evolve with our customers by revamping our offerings.

“This does not only mean in terms of brands we carry, but we also need to focus on the intangible side of things such as services, to include a total experience that matches their lifestyles,” said Teo.

He said Sogo KL prided itself on a variety of services such as their free home deliveries upon request, personal shoppers, porter services to assist in carrying items to vehicles and online shopping just to name a few.

Currently with approximately 400,000 Scard members, supplementary services consist of additional discounts, gifts as vouchers, closed-door members only sales, and occasionally the opportunity to earn double points with any purchase.

Gold and Platinum card members are provided entry to the private lounges to kick up their feet and relax after a day of shopping.

Endeavouring to branch out, the group is in the process of opening an anchor store in an as-yet undisclosed shopping complex in Johor Baru.

The store that covers approximately 200,000 sqft and four levels will tentatively be completed by the third quarter of 2016.

Teo revealed that proposals still in the planning stages include a look at expanding by another three or four outlets in major cities around the Klang Valley and further north such as Ipoh and Penang, besides a possible venture to the east coast.

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