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Saturday, January 5, 2008

1 Shamelin goes into unchartered territory - Shopping mall banks on young entrepreneurs

"The concept is highly successful overseas ... it has even been known to become a tourist attraction."

IN A town that is buzzing with new malls, 1 Shamelin shopping mall hopes to stand out from the rest as it goes into unchartered territory.

The mall will not have an anchor tenant but a whole lot of young entrepreneurs.

"The concept is highly successful overseas, it has even been known to become a tourist attraction, because tourists don't come to see big brands ... they come to feel the local culture," Y & Y Group business development director Kenny Yong Yoke Leong told Business Times recently.

1 Shamelin is being developed by Lambang Ehsan Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Y & Y Group.

Yong said it will be tough to find a big brand in the mall as there has been a concerted effort to make sure that young entrepreneurs make up the majority of the brands there.

Besides having retail lots that are relatively small, at 108 sq feet, a rule has also been imposed that no retailer can own more than two lots.

"We are catering to a public that 10 to 15 years from now will no longer feel comfortable to frequent night markets," Yong said.

He said the fact that they are also selling retail space, besides leasing it, is a major pull for start-up businesses wanting to set up a shop in a mall.

Retail lots for sale are going at RM128,000 and above while, monthly rental for standard lots (ranging from 108 to 445 sq ft) are expected to be around RM1,200.

1 Shamelin has allocated some 25 per cent of its 800,000-sq-ft retail space for sale to young entrepreneurs and investors.

He said the group has approached small businesses in flea markets and shopping mall kiosks, as part of its marketing strategy.

The mall is modelled after shopping destinations such as Singapore's Bugis Junction and Bangkok's Platinum Fashion Mall.

"Right now it's relatively impossible for young entrepreneurs to set up a shop in a mall because of the expensive rental and the track record that they inevitably ask for," he said.

The company is investing RM200 million in the mall and expects to recoup its investment in two to three years.

This is the first time that the Y & Y group has ventured into the mall business.

Yong said should One Shamelin prove successful, the group has earmarked a plot of land it owns opposite the Putra World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur to develop another similar kind of mall.

"Our main challenge right now would be to educate the market, make them understand the concept and see its uniqueness," Yong said.

1 Shamelin is located in Taman Shamelin Perkasa, Cheras.

By New Straits Times - Business Times (by Presenna Nambiar)

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