As a Singaporean, I am a big fan of retail and the new concepts that emerge. Singapore is a small country with little by way of nature, forests, and lakes. As a result, most locals spend their time in the numerous shopping malls dotting our landscape, as they offer family-friendly activities as well as an air-conditioned environment to hide from the sweltering tropical heat.
Generally, there are two main types of malls in our island. The first is known as the heartland or suburban mall, which are generally smaller in size and catered for residents in surrounding locales. The other type of mall would be the mega-malls, which are much larger in size, have a wider variety and breadth of shops, and are located in the central areas of Singapore.
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Recently, three new and exciting retail concepts have emerged from mega-malls.
1. JEWEL @ Changi Airport
JEWEL is a huge project located in front of Changi Airport’s Terminal 1 and nestled comfortably between Terminals 2 and 3. Constructed at a cost of S$1.7 billion, the new building, which is in the portfolio of local real estate giant CapitaLand Limited (SGX: C31), is an ambitious 10-storey complex with around 280 shops and food and beverage outlets. It is set to be a veritable shoppers’ paradise as it will boast a wide range of luxury retail outlets, akin to Marina Bay Sands Shoppes which first opened its doors in 2009.
In addition to the vast amount of shopping to be done, there are also special areas within JEWEL. Visitors can look forward to a huge man-made waterfall (rain vortex), a kids’ play area, a bouncing net (a type of suspended trampoline structure), as well as a canopy park and canopy bridge. There are also fun areas, such as a mirror and hedge maze for children and families to explore. JEWEL is slated to open to the public on 17 April 2019.
2. Funan Mall
Most people would remember Funan as a mall that focused on IT products. Many Singaporeans, myself included, have visited Funan to purchase all manner of IT merchandise. Challenger Technologies (SGX: 573) used to house its largest outlet in the old Funan mall before it was shut in 2017 for redevelopment.
Capitaland Mall Trust (SGX: C38U), the owner of Funan, is redeveloping the mall. The new Funan is expected to open in the second-quarter of 2019. The redeveloped mall will be the first online-to-offline (O2O) shopping mall in Singapore and will have features that integrate online, offline, data, and logistics components in order to support retailers’ omnichannel strategies.
Funan will also boast an entire host of smart features. Some examples are smart car parking, which allows a driver to reserve a lot in advance through an app on his or her smartphone; facial recognition technology which allow office workers to access the development’s offices without the use of a gantry; and other cool facilities (such as craft workshops and co-working spaces) which users can access using only an app. I look forward to Funan’s opening as the mall is incorporating so many futuristic elements.
3. Marina Square Shopping Mall
Marina Square has, in recent years, faded into the background as the adjacent Suntec City gained prominence. Marina Square is owned by a subsidiary of Singapore Land Limited, which in turn is mostly-owned by United Industrial Corporation (SGX: U06). Suntec City is under Suntec Real Estate Investment Trust (SGX: T82U).
There are now good reasons to start visiting Marina Square. Kidztopia, a large and new kids’ indoor playground, is scheduled to launch in the mall in June 2019. The company behind the Kidztopia playground is from Singapore and already has a similar large indoor playground in Xi ‘An, China. The space in Marina Square that Kidztopia is using was originally occupied by Emporium Shokuhin, a Japanese retailer which opened in 2016 but which shut down in 2018 due to unpaid rents. Marina Square’s move comes after Suntec City opened the similar Superpark concept earlier this year.
In addition to Kidztopia, shoppers can also look forward to the new NERF Family Entertainment Centre opening in the fourth quarter of 2019 in Marina Square. This new concept will be owned and operated by Kingsmen Creatives Ltd (SGX: 5MZ) and promises a lot of fun-filled activities and zones where kids, teenagers, and office workers can engage in NERF wars. My colleague Chin Hui Leong had discussed the NERF Family Entertain Centre in previous articles (see here and here).
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The Motley Fool Singapore contributor Royston Yang contributed to this article. Royston owns shares in Kingsmen Creatives and Suntec Real Estate Investment Trust.
The information provided is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be personalized investment or financial advice. The Motley Fool Singapore writer Chong Ser Jing own shares in CapitaLand and Kingsmen Creatives. The Motley Fool Singapore has a recommendation on CapitaLand.