HOME-GROWN department store Metro will replace another home-grown player Robinsons as the anchor tenant at The Centrepoint shopping mall in Orchard Road.
The firm's fifth store here will occupy six floors or 130,000 sq ft of retail space at the complex after the Robinsons lease expires in May, ending its 31 years at the site. Robinsons set up its new 186,000 sq ft flagship store at The Heeren in Orchard Road in November.
Metro said in a joint statement with Frasers Centrepoint - the owner of the mall - yesterday that it will have completed the move into The Centrepoint by the end of the year.
Metro chief executive David Tang said the new store will be a "departure from the typical shopping experience".
It will feature products and brands that are exclusive to the retailer, and also have eateries within the shopping areas, which is a first for Metro.
For Metro, this means a return in a big way to Orchard Road, where the Centrepoint outlet will be the largest among its five stores. Currently, it has three outlets in malls outside the CBD, at Causeway Point, City Square Mall and Compass Point.
A fourth outlet is located at the Paragon mall, which occupies 77,000 sq ft of space. The Straits Times understands that Metro will remain at Paragon.
"The opening of another store on Orchard Road, the main shopping belt in Singapore for both locals and tourists, will allow us to distinguish the two stores and serve different groups of customers," a Metro spokesman added. She added that the new store will be targeted at "young, urban families".
However, she declined to comment on rent levels at The Centrepoint.
A Frasers Centrepoint spokesman said signing up Metro fits its plans to "tweak the look and feel to revitalise the mall".
Refurbishment work for the Metro store will start shortly after Robinsons moves out of The Centrepoint.
Frasers added in a statement that the mall will have a new focus on contemporary fashion and lifestyle products, with different clusters catering to high street fashion, cosmetics, lifestyle and sports.
Mr Desmond Sim, research head at property firm CBRE, said The Centrepoint is likely to be the biggest winner in the move, as Robinsons has helped establish the mall as a family shopping destination over the years. Given Robinsons' large presence at the mall, its departure would leave a very big gap to fill. "Now that The Centrepoint has found a tenant in a similar trade, Metro is well placed to jump in and carry on this theme," he said.
Retiree Lee Joo Geck, 71, says she will miss Robinsons at its old location as it has been the one constant in Centrepoint throughout its facelifts over the years. But she thinks having Metro there may not be a bad idea. "Metro has mass appeal and carries a wide variety of brands and items, it could bring in more shoppers."
This story was first published in The Straits Times on March 5, 2014
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