4 Quotes That Vividly Describe How Singapore’s Retail Might Never Be the Same Again

Singapore’s retail scene may never be the same again.

It is not a secret that retailers in Singapore have been facing a tougher time over the past few years. There might be several reasons for this. To find out more details, I took time recently to dip into the annual reports of major retailers in Singapore. I wanted to figure out what the retail scene in Singapore looks like from the eyes of the major players.

What I found were some vivid descriptions of the challenges that retailers face.

1. The shift to online shopping continues – click here

2. Few retail segments will be left untouched – click here

3. Bricks and clicks

Metro Holdings Ltd (SGX: M01) also believes that consumers are increasingly shopping online. In its latest annual report, the retailer said:

“Prospects of our Singapore retail operations remain challenging, as supply of new retail space continues to grow while consumers’ shopping behavior shifted increasingly towards online.”

The firm is also moving to embrace an omni-channel approach where customers can shop online, and collect it in-store:  

“With this understanding, Metro has undertaken to transform ourselves, both in developing fresh concepts to entice consumers with better shopping experience, as well as to develop an omni-channel marketing strategy to meet the evolving needs of our customers and support a complete online-to-offline (O2O) user experience.”  

4. Gone with the wind

The theme is clear – status quo will not work. Suntec Real Estate Investment Trust’s (SGX: T82U) chief executive of the manager, Chan Kong Leong, provided this statement during his SGX kopi-C interview:

“Gone are the days when all you have to do is open the store and customers will walk in to buy.”

Suntec REIT is the owner of Suntec City which has a major retail component. Chan added another interesting perspective on physical assets:

“The mall operates from 10am to 10pm. In other words, the asset sleeps when we do. But physical concrete doesn’t need rest, so the question is how do we raise utilisation rates during those periods?”

Increasingly, physical store retailers will have to figure out new ways to make full use of its existing assets, or risk being swept away by change.

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The information provided is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be personalised investment or financial advice. The Motley Fool Singapore has recommended shares of Singapore Exchange. Motley Fool Singapore contributor Chin Hui Leong owns units in Suntec REIT.