John Little to close last Singapore store by December

A John Little outlet, which is now defunct, in Orchard Road.
A John Little outlet, which is now defunct, in Orchard Road. PHOTO: ST FILE

After 174 years, John Little is closing its last department store in Singapore. The remaining outlet in Plaza Singapura will shutter by the end of December.

In a statement on Friday (Nov 4), Robinsons Group - which manages John Little, the oldest department store in Singapore - said that the decision was made "after evaluating the relevancy and sustainability of the John Little brick-and-mortar business".

But it does not mark the end of the John Little brand. Robinsons Group said that John Little will instead "evolve as a brand into a pop up format, which is in line with the global trend for retail businesses".

John Little's new format will be revealed next year.

The closure is part of the consolidation efforts to focus on businesses that are growing within the group, the statement said.

The Al-Futtaim Group - the Dubai-based owner of Robinsons Group, Royal Sporting House and other retail brands - announced plans earlier this year to shut 10 loss-making outlets here under its distribution and retailing arm RSH.

John Little had seven branches in 2002, including its flagship store at Specialists' Shopping Centre, which it vacated in 2007, after more than 20 years.

Its outlet at Jurong Point shopping mall was the penultimate to close, shutting its doors earlier this year.

Staff affected by the closure of John Little have been briefed, and will be deployed to other businesses within the organisation, which includes Robinsons and Marks and Spencer, Robinsons Group's statement said.

John Little Plaza Singapura will be holding a moving out sale offering discounts up to 90 per cent until it shutters.