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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Facing stiff competition in retail

KOTA Baru, the capital of Kelantan, is home to a few shopping complexes and the addition of Kristana Holdings Sdn Bhd's QueensPark SportzCity & Boulevard could face stiff competition.

According to Kristana group managing director Datuk Dr Stanley Chew, the project will be positioned as a lifestyle and recreational centre, making it different from the conventional shopping mall as it will also offer sports and leisure activities such as futsal (football that is mainly played indoors and on a smaller playing surface), pool and snooker, bowling and roller skating.

But for the average shopaholic or person looking to kill some leisure time, it just means that they are now spoiled for choice.

The malls currently located in Kota Baru are KB Mall, Kota Baru Trade Centre, Pelangi Mall, Kota Seri Mutiara Shopping Centre and Tesco Kota Baru.

One Kota Baru-based real estate agent feels that there were already sufficient shopping centres.

If you also include hypermarkets (and malls), than I feel that there is an oversupply, says Azihan, a realtor from Kelantan-based property consultant firm Rahim & Co.

Every town in Kelantan already has a shopping centre, he adds.

Malaysian Association for Shopping and Highrise Complex Management advisor Richard Chan, who was involved in the planning of the development of KB Mall in Kota Baru, argues that there is plenty of room for growth for shopping complexes in Kelantan.

There's always room for growth. When Tesco came up (in Kota Baru), people were saying that KB Mall would be dead! But KB Mall is still doing well and commanding good rental rates, he says.

According to Chan, rentals on the ground floor of KB Mall was commanding about RM20 psf.

To have a successful shopping mall, you need certain criteria, such as good management, accessibility, location and anchor tenants. You also need good advertising and promotional campaigns that are done properly, says Chan.

Azihan says that for a new shopping centre to be successful in Kota Baru, it needs to be different from the rest, adding that the QueensPark SportzCity & Boulevard looked poised to offer something new to shoppers and customers.

One industry observer says that on average, consumer spending patterns (in Kota Baru) was good.

Apart from locals, there are also a lot of tourists from Southern Thailand coming here to shop. The shopping centres here are often packed especially during school holidays, he says.

According to Azihan, one concern that non-Kelantanese often have about the state is its strict entertainment rules.

But calls are already being made to the state Government to relax its stringent entertainment laws, he says.

Last month, it was reported that the Kelantan government was urged to relax its enforcement of rules under the state entertainment enactment to allow activities of traditional and cultural arts to perform in the state.

Seni Suara Desa Association president Baharuddin Ghani was quoted as saying that it was necessary that the conditions be relaxed to develop and promote the state's culture and arts.

By The Star

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