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Monday, December 17, 2007

Drawing the crowd


Sunway City Bhd expects visitors to its Sunway Pyramid shopping mall to hit 2.5 million this month when various retailers fully occupy its RM550mil new extension.

The new extension that was opened in October, has more than doubled the number of available retail outlets at the shopping mall to 800 from 300 previously.

Sunway Pyramid senior general manager H.C. Chan said in a statement: “The mall encapsulates two-in-one format with worlds of experience - the Oasis Boulevard that hugs the exterior like a necklace and the mall within that are seamlessly connected at four floors in a 360-degree loop corridor.”

The architecture aimed to “reflect contemporary retail design with elements that echo the prevailing Egyptian theme”, he said. The shopping mall has now been divided into four shopping precincts featuring distinct colours, cultures and products from well-known shopping zones around the world.

Known as Fashion Central, Oasis Boulevard, Asian Avenue and Marrakesh, these shopping precincts were to cater to the growing market of affluent and savvy shoppers.

Fashion Central precinct comprises a bridge and high street commercial fashion boutiques that showcase the latest season's creations.

Asian Avenue offers the latest trend in street wear and attitude wear for the young and hip.

“Two hundred specialty shops are expected to be offering specialist and designers products within this precinct,” he added.

The Marrakesh shopping precinct

The Marrakesh precinct is inspired by the souks and bazaars of Morocco. Here arches and decorative columns featuring traditional Moorish patterns, materials and finishes could be commonly found.

The management plans for unique souvenirs, knick-knacks and a host of specialty retail merchandisers to make up the retail offerings, in this zone.

The new Oasis Boulevard, is based on the two-in-one concept of having two distinctive shopping precincts that offer mainstream day shopping within the mall and another night-time shopping outside the mall.

“The idea is to allow shoppers to enjoy quality dining, clubbing and entertainment activities for both young, old and with families even after 10 pm.

“The already successful al-fresco precinct had been extended to envelope the mall exterior from the East-North belt to the West-South belt,” said Chan.

C.Chan (riht) and Ngeow Voon Yean

The al-fresco area now includes areas for street-fronting themed concept restaurants and clubs as well as shopping space for retail goods and services.

Among the brands now making their appearance in Sunway Pyramid were Jusco, Cerruti 1881, Dorothy Perkins, French Connection, Xixili, United Colours of Benetton, Calvin Klein, Guess, Lacoste, Principles, Springfield, Promod, Marks & Spencer, Colin's & Loft, Forever 21, Elle Homme, The Gap, Raoul, Aldo, Nike and Adidas.

The car park had also not been neglected in the renovations and was now equipped with state-of-the-art car parking guiding system to enable customers to reach the car park bay directly.

It informs how many vacant bays are available as a visitor approaches a particular floor.

According to Chan, the accessibility issue is also addressed with the creation of multiple entrance and exit points to the complex.

“Notably, the multi-million ringgit infrastructure development included direct flyovers and tunnel link from New Pantai Expressway fronting the mall, both for Kuala Lumpur bound and Subang Jaya bound traffic to have direct access to the mall.

“It represented the first time ever in Malaysia a major highway accessible from both sides,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Sunway Resort Hotel & Spa is undergoing a progressive RM80mil renovation.

Group general manager Jean-Jacques Kiefer said, the convention facilities had already been refurbished and access to the hotel has been greatly enhanced.

According to Sunway City Bhd managing director of property investment Ngeow Voon Yean, the hotel is expected to see double-digit revenue growth for financial year 2008 and 2009.

“The hotel's proper yielding strategy also sees average room rates increasing from RM231 in the last financial year to RM309 in the financial year 2008 and 2009,” Ngeow said.

Despite the five-star Sunway Resort Hotel & Spa being partially closed for renovations, a total of about 90,489 room nights at an average room rate of RM295 “were captured” in the peak months of June, July and August, he said.

This works out to an increase of 14% in room revenue compared to the same period last year.

Other hotel properties managed by Sunway International Hotels & Resorts are Sunway Hotel Georgetown in Penang, Sunway Hotel Seberang Jaya in Prai, Sunway Hotel Phnom Penh in Cambodia and Sunway Hotel Vietnam.

By The Star (by Loong Tse Min)

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