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Friday, March 9, 2012

Second Festival City mall on the way

FESTIVAL City Sdn Bhd, a Lion Group company which aims to be a major mall owner and operator in Malaysia, is finalising a deal for a second shopping complex.

Festival City, a unit of Parkson Holdings Bhd, was set up to diversify into mall management to derive a new source of income.

The Lion group is no stranger to mall operations as it previously managed a chain of shopping complexes which carried the Parade brand. It also used to own and operate the Xtra hypermarket chain.

"We are finalising a second mall," senior general manager Gui Cheng Hock said in a recent interview. The mall, to be located in Malacca, is likely to be ready within three years.

The group has since 2005 voiced its plans to diversify into shopping complex management. The plans finally materialised in October 2011, when it opened its first mall called KL Festival City along Jalan Genting-Kelang.

The mall measures 1.1 million sq ft with a total net lettable area of 500,000 sq ft . The second mall, Gui said, will have a larger net lettable area than the first one.

He explained that at KL Festival City, it was not able to cater to retailers who had wanted more space.

As such, it hopes that by having a bigger mall it will not have to disappoint tenants.

Asked if it plans to diversify into shopping complex management in countries where it has already established Parkson stores, Gui said it wanted to establish itself first in Malaysia.

The idea is to have a successful mall that will also see its tenants flourish. Once this relationship is established, it will be easier for the mall operator to take its tenants with it when it expands.

"Once the tenants are confident with our mall, we can form a core group of tenants who will come with us where ever we expand," he said.

Gui sees potential for its shopping complexes in Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru and Penang.

Does it prefer to build its own mall or to will it buy existing malls?

"The direction is to look for land and to build from scratch...but we are open to all opportunities," Gui said.

By Business Times

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