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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Shopping in style at Kluang Mall

ESTABLISHED brands such as Sushi King, Secret Recipe and PDI are making inroads in secondary cities like Kluang in Johor.

Sushi King's outlet at Kluang Mall for one, is enjoying robust sales with long queues of people waiting to grab a seat during lunch and dinner.

In 2005, when Majupadu Development Sdn Bhd managing director Tey Ah Kau conceptualised the idea of building a lifestyle mall in Kluang that later would be the pride of the town, many were doubtful if it would work.

"After three years of research, we made a bold decision to move ahead of others here. We dared to develop something that many were pessimistic about. People wondered whether residents in Kluang would be willing to spend," Tey said.

With the guidance of retail consultant Richard Chan of RCMC Sdn Bhd, Tey decided that there was a still a need to fill an obvious gap despite existing competition.

"We take a long-term view," said Tey, who has been a property developer for the past 21 years.

Today, the RM100 million Kluang Mall with a 800,000 sq ft gross area is the largest in the town, with a primary catchment of 300,000 and a secondary catchment of 1.2 million from Batu Pahat, Muar, Pontian and Segamat.

Kluang Mall, which opened on December 24 2008, is developed and operated by Tenaga Nusantara Sdn Bhd, also owned by Tey.

Kluang Mall's tagline "Shop like a City" has worked in its favour as the mall has been performing satisfactorily since its opening. Seventy-nine per cent of its net lettable area has been filled.

Tenants, including Popular Book Store, Pacific Hypermarket, Pacific Department Store, Big Apple and Laksa Shack, drew 417,000 shoppers in February this year and 375,000 shoppers in March.

Meanwhile, Tey expects return on investment for the mall typically in seven to eight years.

Built on 2.63ha within the town centre of Kluang, the mall aims to cater to the younger Kluang generation who want finer things in life. The entire mall has WiFi connection.

By Business Times (by Vasantha Ganesan)

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