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Monday, December 24, 2007

Shoppers spend record RM2b at Suria KLCC

SURIA KLCC saw a total of 46 million people spending some RM2 billion worth at the mall this past year.

This is the highest level of retail sales registered by the retailers within Suria KLCC which numbers 330 and occupies a total of 1.04 million sq ft of net lettable area.

"Sales were up by 15 per cent (compared with a year ago). We are very happy that for the first time (at the end of November 2007) our retailers have hit RM2 billion in sales," Suria KLCC Sdn Bhd's chief executive officer Andrew Brien said.

He added that the number of shoppers grew from 43 million a year ago, representing an increase of 6.5 per cent.

In a recent interview with Business Times, Brien said that the RM2 billion sales derived by its retailers are a 51 per cent increase since 2004, with no new additional retail space.

"We have just remixed (the retailers) and driven the sales up," he said.

On what is in store in 2008, he said: "Next year is difficult to tell. Sales growth in Malaysia has been extraordinary compared with the five per cent growth in the UK, 3.5 per cent in the US and five per cent in Australia. We are in double digits now. (But) how long can this go on is the question."

"We are conservative. We think we will still be in double digits next year, probably not as high (as 15 per cent). This is about the retail cycle. We have been on the bullish cycle for two to two-and-a-half years. That (growth) doesn't last forever," he said.

For the financial year ended March 31 2007, Suria KLCC, a 60-40 partnership between KLCC Property Holdings Bhd and ING Real Estate, posted RM214.7 million in revenue, up eight per cent from a year ago.

When asked about its performance in the current year, Brien said: "We expect to perform at least as well as in last year."

On the impact due to the additional 2.9 million sq ft retail space following the opening of Pavilion, The Gardens Mid Valley and Sunway Pyramid, Brien said: "Retail space will have an impact on us although we have today noticed zero impact".

"The inherent strength is in the total development of KLCC which is unsurpassed in the region. We have the best integrated development," Brien added.

Thanks to its strategic location and its link to the iconic Twin Towers, Suria KLCC also enjoys a huge share of the tourist market.

Of the 46 million this year, up to a fifth of its visitors are

tourists. This compares to about three years ago when tourists made up between eight per cent and 12 per cent of its crowd.

Brien said that while the foreign tourists numbers may be small compared to the domestic crowd, the former spends more.

"Tourists account for 30 per cent of the retailers sales. They have a higher propensity to spend," he said.

In 2010, Suria will have additional 140,000 sq ft of nett lettable area. The space will come with the construction of an office tower between Suria KLCC and Mandarin Oriental Hotel, where the bottom of the tower will be linked seamlessly with the existing Suria KLCC.

Brien said that he expects Suria KLCC to remain an iconic structure, always generating more market share.

"We have elements that cannot be matched elsewhere. No one has a park, the Twin Towers, 5,400 parking bays and two hotels. I am not being arrogant but the planning of the structure was very well thought of and gives us a good positioning for a long time," he said.

By New Straits Times (by Vasantha Ganesan)

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