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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Aeon confident on Malaysian retail industry

JOHOR BARU: Aeon Co (M) Bhd remains bullish on Malaysia’s retail industry despite the gloomy global economic outlook, says chairman Datuk Abdullah Mohd Yusof, adding that the industry was valued at about RM70bil annually.

Managing director Nagahisa Oyama said apart from Klang Valley and Penang, the company was focusing on Johor Baru as part of its mid-term plan until 2010 for future expansion.

With South Johor being developed into a retail hub, Iskandar Malaysia offered good business prospects for retailers, he said.

He said over five years, Aeon had opened four shopping centres within Iskandar Malaysia at Taman Universiti, Permas Jaya, Tebrau and Bukit Indah.

“We believe the retail sector in Iskandar Malaysia will continue to grow in years to come in tandem with the growth of the corridor,’’ Oyama said at the tree planting ceremony to mark the opening of Aeon’s Bukit Indah shopping centre last Saturday.

The RM300mil shopping centre on 15.132ha is Aeon’s 21st Jusco store. To date, 95% of the three-storey shopping centre has been taken up by 200 tenants.

Oyama said the shopping centre would open for business on Dec 19 in time for Christmas while the grand opening would probably be early next year.

Meanwhile, Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman said many local and foreign retailers would be opening in Iskandar Malaysia be it shopping complexes, hypermarkets or supermarkets.

He said a world renowned property group would open a premium outlet in Iskandar Malaysia soon, making it the first premium outlet in South-East Asia.

Ghani said the outlet would also attract shoppers from this region as similar outlets had proved popular in cities like London, Tokyo, New York and Seoul.

By The Star (by Zazali Musa)

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