To satisfy my curiosity and to keep in touch with what’s new, hot and happening in Singapore’s suburban towns, my family recently visited nex, the biggest shopping mall at the Northeastern part of Singapore.
Close to lunch last Sunday, I was looking for a gold coloured tie to go with my black shirt for this event and decided to try my luck at Liang Court. I recalled fondly that they might have some boutiques there, since they cater largely to a Japanese expatriate market. This used to be one of my favourite childhood hangouts, with the lethal combination of a Swensen’s Restaurant, Kinokuniya Bookstore and of course Daimaru.
Of course, things have changed quite a lot since.
The most obvious difference was that Daimaru and Swensen’s were gone. In place of Daimaru’s 4 levels are a budget electronic shop in level 1, some furniture shops at level 2, and Books Kinokuniya (thankfully still around as its one of my favourite) in level 3.
Crowds thronged VivoCity when they first opened
Recently, quite a few shopping centres in Singapore seem to be left behind in the retail race despite our buoyant economy. Poor customer traffic, contractual spats, tenants going on “strike”, empty shop spaces, decay and disrepair seem to be some of their common woes.
Some are new and spanking. They include Dhoby Xchange, which is strategically located next to the Dhoby Ghaut MRT Station yet attracting hardly a soul. Another recent case is an unnamed shopping mall at Commonwealth Market (to be renamed Queenspoint) which apparently ran afoul of the law. Its owners Pagar Park did not have approval to sub-let its spaces but still went ahead, with 70% of its 150 retail outlets taken up. Now it is tangled in a messy litigation case involving multiple parties including the Singapore Land Authority.