Foot Locker's Orchard outlet ordered to close for 10 days after crowds gathered for event

Foot Locker's Orchard Gateway @ Emerald outlet was closed on Dec 5 (left), after crowds gathered on Dec 4.
Foot Locker's Orchard Gateway @ Emerald outlet was closed on Dec 5 (left), after crowds gathered on Dec 4.PHOTOS: KELVIN CHNG, FACEBOOK/SOLE SUPERIOR SG
Crowds outside Foot Locker's Orchard Gateway @ Emerald outlet on Dec 4, 2020.
Crowds outside Foot Locker's Orchard Gateway @ Emerald outlet on Dec 4, 2020.PHOTO: FACEBOOK/SOLE SUPERIOR SG
A closed Foot Locker outlet at Orchard Gateway @ Emerald on Dec 5, 2020.
A closed Foot Locker outlet at Orchard Gateway @ Emerald on Dec 5, 2020.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG
Security officers were seen advising some members of the public waiting outside the store on Dec 5 that the sneaker launch had been cancelled.
Security officers were seen advising some members of the public waiting outside the store on Dec 5 that the sneaker launch had been cancelled.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE - The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) has ordered shoe retailer Foot Locker to suspend operations for 10 days from Saturday (Dec 5) at its Orchard Gateway @ Emerald outlet for failing to comply with Covid-19 safe management measures.

“Large crowds had gathered at the outlet for a product launch on Friday, despite repeated advisories by public enforcement agencies on crowd management,” said STB in a joint statement with Enterprise Singapore on Saturday.

During the period of its suspension, Foot Locker’s Orchard outlet is not permitted to conduct physical retail activities, but may continue to carry out online retail activities. 

Investigations are still ongoing and further enforcement action may be taken, the agencies said.

STB and ESG are also engaging Foot Locker on the measures it will take for future product launches, including the potential cessation of all such physical launches at Foot Locker locations across Singapore.

They added that retail businesses are strongly advised to hold online sales instead of organising physical product launches that may attract large crowds. 

“If physical launches are held, businesses must ensure they have robust plans for safe management measures in place, including crowd management and capacity limits,” the agencies said.

On Friday night, crowds had gathered apparently for Saturday's release of the limited-edition Adidas sneaker, an item that can fetch a tidy profit on the secondary market due to high demand.

A Foot Locker spokesman told The Straits Times on Saturday that it will not be hosting any in-store events this weekend.

"We take the issues of crowding seriously and are continuing to work diligently and proactively to maintain safe distance for all of our shoppers and staff members.

"We will continue to enforce restrictions on maximum occupancy for all of our stores according to the guidelines set forth by local authorities," said the spokesman.

When ST visited the footwear store at around 10am on Saturday, there were no crowds.

Security officers were seen advising some members of the public waiting outside the store that the sneaker launch had been cancelled.


There were no crowds at the footwear store at around 10am on Dec 5, 2020. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG


Security officers were seen advising some members of the public waiting outside the store on Dec 5 that the sneaker launch had been cancelled. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

On Friday, photos circulated on social media showed a crowd of around 100 people packed shoulder to shoulder outside the footwear store at about 8pm.

The crowds dispersed shortly after 8.30pm after safe distancing ambassadors and police officers arrived.

Adidas' Yeezy sneaker line, the product of a collaboration between rapper Kanye West and the sports shoe brand, drew large crowds in Singapore and abroad during past launches.

The newly released Adidas Yeezy Boost 350 V2 Men Originals retails at $349 on the Adidas Singapore website; its equivalent for kids and infants goes for $250 and $220, respectively.

Adidas Singapore had held an online ballot for Saturday's limited release, but many sneaker aficionados who missed out appeared to have wanted to try their luck at Foot Locker, given the high resale value of the shoes.

Foot Locker Singapore had earlier marketed itself as the place to snag the exclusive shoes.

“These trainers are hot - the hype is real...Foot Locker is at the head of the latest trends, so you know it’ll stock Yeezy boost trainers online and in select stores,” it said on its website prior to the launch.

The Foot Locker Singapore website was down as of Saturday afternoon. It was previously reported to be down on Friday evening.

Last June, the launch of the limited-edition Adidas Yeezy Boost 350 V created a long queue lasting many hours before the release at Foot Locker's Jewel Changi Airport outlet.