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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Johor Premium Outlets attract more brands into Johor Baru

New concept: Shoppers walking past some stores at the Johor Premium Outlets.

JOHOR BARU: The opening of the Johor Premium Outlets (JPO) late last year has created much interest among many Malaysian shoppers who are still new to the shopping concept.

Southern region representative of the Malaysian Association for Shopping and High Rise Complex Management Jenny Chan said since it was a new shopping format, it would take time for shoppers to adapt and adopt.

She said the luxury premium brand outlet format might not be new for Malaysians who had visited similar outlets overseas, but not for those who had never patronised such outlets before. “JPO is targeting at a specific group of shoppers hunting for reasonably priced quality and branded items,'' Chan said in an interview with StarBiz.

JPO is the only such outlet in South-East Asia, while 58 other outlets are in the United States, one in Puerto Rico, one in Mexico, eight in Japan and two in South Korea.

Among the brands avaialable at JPO are Armani, Burberry, Canali, Coach, Ermenegildo Zegna, Guess, Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren and Salvatore Ferragamo.

The outlet is a 50:50 joint venture between Genting Bhd's subsidiary Genting Plantations Bhd and Premium Outlets, the retail outlet division of Simon Property Group Inc.

Under the second phase of its development, Genting plans to spend RM100mil to increase the number of stores from the present 70 to 130.

The company is also expected to invest up to RM1bil to develop the area, including constructing a 2,000-room hotel together with a water-theme park and a meeting, incentive, conference and exhibition centre.

Chan said unlike in the Klang Valley and Singapore where customers were spoilt for choices when it came to branded fashion items available from shopping complexes, it was not the case in Johor Baru.

She said for many years, Johoreans living in the city would either travel to Kuala Lumpur or cross over to Singapore if they were looking for branded fashion items.

She said the opening of JPO saw many brands making their debut in the Johor Baru retail sector and offered to Johoreans a wider range of brands.

Chan added the format would work well with tourists and Malaysians from other states as well Singaporeans coming to shop at the outlet as it offered attractive bargains and discounts.

She said shoppers would be pampered with original discounted goods with good quality and she hoped that consumers would support genuine luxury products instead of imitation goods.

Asked whether the location of JPO was too remote, Chan said it was typical for Premium Outlets worldwide to operate away from the city centre.

“However, you must remember that this format is destination-bound'; therefore, shoppers will drive there for a different shopping experience,'' she said, adding: “It's better than travelling all the way to Premium Outlets in the United States, Japan or South Korea.”

Chan said Johor's close proximity with Singapore would allow the outlet to tap tourists including those from Australasia, China, India, Europe and Middle East visiting the republic.

Similarly Chan said JPO's presence would not affect other shopping mall business as its product range was totally different from normal shopping malls.

She added that shopping mall tenant mix was based on the target audience needs, especially within 5km radius or up to 10km radius.

By The Star

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