PICTURES

Metro department store: 12 things you need to know about the brand

Metro Grand at Scotts, taken on Dec 3, 1982. -- ST FILE PHOTO: SIMON KER
Metro Grand at Scotts, taken on Dec 3, 1982. -- ST FILE PHOTO: SIMON KER
Metro at Far East on Dec 3, 1982. -- ST FILE PHOTO: SIMON KER
Metro at Far East on Dec 3, 1982. -- ST FILE PHOTO: SIMON KER
The throngs of shoppers on the mad rush to buy as many items as they can at this 30-minute-special in the Metro Paragon's toy department on Dec 18, 1988. -- ST FILE PHOTO: JACKY HO
The throngs of shoppers on the mad rush to buy as many items as they can at this 30-minute-special in the Metro Paragon's toy department on Dec 18, 1988. -- ST FILE PHOTO: JACKY HO
Metro's Christmas light up on Nov 5, 1993. -- ST FILE PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI
Metro's Christmas light up on Nov 5, 1993. -- ST FILE PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI
Shoppers throng the counter to make the most of Metro's 30-Minute Special on Dec 22, 1991. -- NP FILE PHOTO: CHOO CHWEE HUA
Shoppers throng the counter to make the most of Metro's 30-Minute Special on Dec 22, 1991. -- NP FILE PHOTO: CHOO CHWEE HUA
Metro at the Paragon shopping centre on Oct 24, 1995. -- ST FILE PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN
Metro at the Paragon shopping centre on Oct 24, 1995. -- ST FILE PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN
Metro's first suburban store in Century Square on Oct 28, 1996. -- ST FILE PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM
Metro's first suburban store in Century Square on Oct 28, 1996. -- ST FILE PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM
Metro in Paragon on Nov 21, 1996, with its Christmas decoration. -- BT FILE PHOTO: SIEW YAW HOONG
Metro in Paragon on Nov 21, 1996, with its Christmas decoration. -- BT FILE PHOTO: SIEW YAW HOONG
Metro at Far East on June 26, 1998. -- ST FILE PHOTO: ALEX TAN
Metro at Far East on June 26, 1998. -- ST FILE PHOTO: ALEX TAN
Metro's flaghip store at Paragon on Oct 23, 1998. -- BT FILE PHOTO: ARTHUR LEE CH
Metro's flaghip store at Paragon on Oct 23, 1998. -- BT FILE PHOTO: ARTHUR LEE CH
Mr Ong Tjoe Kim, founder of Metro, on April 21, 2001. -- ST FILE PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG
Mr Ong Tjoe Kim, founder of Metro, on April 21, 2001. -- ST FILE PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG
Metro department store in Supreme House at Penang Road on Sept 10, 1971. -- ST FILE PHOTO: MAK KIAN SENG
Metro department store in Supreme House at Penang Road on Sept 10, 1971. -- ST FILE PHOTO: MAK KIAN SENG
The opening of the Metro Supreme Department Store by Hongkong actress Nora Miao Ker Hsui at the Supreme House on Sept 23, 1971. -- ST FILE PHOTO: WAN SENG YIP
The opening of the Metro Supreme Department Store by Hongkong actress Nora Miao Ker Hsui at the Supreme House on Sept 23, 1971. -- ST FILE PHOTO: WAN SENG YIP
Hong Kong actress Nora Miao Ker Hsui was invited to open the Metro Supreme department store at Supreme House on Sept 23, 1971. -- ST FILE PHOTO: WAN SENG YIP
Hong Kong actress Nora Miao Ker Hsui was invited to open the Metro Supreme department store at Supreme House on Sept 23, 1971. -- ST FILE PHOTO: WAN SENG YIP
Metro's last day at Far East Plaza on June 16, 2002. -- ST FILE PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM
Metro's last day at Far East Plaza on June 16, 2002. -- ST FILE PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM
Shoppers at Metro Marina Square on Jan 2, 2004. -- BH FILE PHOTO: NORHAIZA HASHIM
Shoppers at Metro Marina Square on Jan 2, 2004. -- BH FILE PHOTO: NORHAIZA HASHIM
More than 100,000 people turned up for Metro's closing down sale at Marina Square on Jan 2, 2004. -- ST FILE PHOTO: WANG HUI FEN
More than 100,000 people turned up for Metro's closing down sale at Marina Square on Jan 2, 2004. -- ST FILE PHOTO: WANG HUI FEN
Shoppers outside Metro Departmental Store on Dec 27, 2007. Metro announced that it will be taking over the space at The Centrepoint after Robinsons' lease ends in May.  -- ST FILE PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG
Shoppers outside Metro Departmental Store on Dec 27, 2007. Metro announced that it will be taking over the space at The Centrepoint after Robinsons' lease ends in May.  -- ST FILE PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG
 Metro in High Street. -- FILE PHOTO: METRO NEWS
 Metro in High Street. -- FILE PHOTO: METRO NEWS

Metro announced that it will be taking over the space at The Centrepoint after Robinsons' lease ends in May. Here are 12 things you need to know about the department store.

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1 Founder Ong Tjoe Kim, who is an avid film buff, named Metro after Hollywood’s famed film studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Its Chinese name Mei Luo means “beautiful textiles/clothes”.

2 The first Metro store was opened in Surabaya, Indonesia, in 1952.

3 Indonesia-born Mr Ong was forced to move to Singapore due to rising anti-Chinese sentiments. He opened the first Singaporean Metro store in a two-storey shophouse at 72 High Street, which he considered “more upmarket than Chinatown”.

4 Metro was originally aimed to cater to rich housewives or "tai-tais" from Indonesia and Singapore. Other department stores such as Robinsons catered to expatriates and C.K. Tang (now known as Tangs) was more popular with locals.

5 Metro is responsible for bringing in retailers such as Toys R Us, Esprit, K-Mart, Cartier, Piaget, Tag-Heuer and Burberry to Singapore. The company also co-founded The Hour Glass in 1979, a luxury watch retailer.

6 In 1990, Metro was the only department store to have covered Europe with its country promotions, which are so extensive that even cultural shows were staged.

7 Metro paved the way for local and regional designers during the 1980s to 1990s. In 1985, it started popular in-house workwear label Marissa in 1985. And in 1990, Ananas, a local label for evening wear. The store also featured apparels from Project Shop and Biyan.

8 Metro holds the Singapore franchise for Britain's Monsoon and Accessorize stores.

9 Metro now has just four department stores in Singapore - one in swanky Paragon Shopping Centre and three others in Woodlands, Sengkang and City Square Mall. It will replace Robinsons as the anchor tenant at The Centrepoint after the latter's lease ends in May 2014.

10 Metro does not only focus on retail. The group is also involved in property investments, both of which are its core businesses today. In 1974, the company took a 27 per cent stake in the development of a vacant site in Orchard Road, which later became Ngee Ann City, which they sold off in 2005. The company is also a major property investor in China.

11 Metro branched out to the hospitality industry with the building of a A$75 million (S$84.4 million) hotel in Cairns, Australia, named The Oasis Resort.

12 Metro is currently headed by founder Ong Tjoe Kim's son, Mr Jopie Ong.