New BHG concept store replaces Robinsons at Raffles City Shopping Centre

One Assembly is the product of a partnership between BHG Singapore and Raffles City Singapore. ST PHOTO: YONG LI XUAN
Shoppers at the soft launch of One Assembly, a new concept store by BHG Singapore and Raffles City Singapore, on Jan 29, 2021. ST PHOTO: YONG LI XUAN

SINGAPORE - A new concept store selling beauty, fashion, as well as home and living products has taken over shop units on two levels vacated by Robinsons at Raffles City Shopping Centre.

One Assembly, a partnership between BHG Singapore and Raffles City Singapore, held its soft launch on Wednesday (Jan 27), ahead of its official opening in early February.

Robinsons, which occupied three levels at the mall, closed its store there on Jan 9, bringing 162 years of history to an end. The main store at The Heeren was shuttered earlier.

Level 3 remains unoccupied. A Raffles City spokesman previously said talks with various brands were ongoing.

On Friday morning, The Straits Times spotted around 10 people waiting for the One Assembly store, which is spread over levels 1 and 2, to open at 11am.

Among them was Ms Judy Lau, 65, who said she was there out of curiosity. She had previously frequented the Robinsons store to shop for clothes to mark Chinese New Year, which falls on Feb 12 and 13.

"We need to go in and take a look and see how different it is. By bringing in new brands, the store will elevate the shopping experience," she said.

Like its predecessor, One Assembly will offer a range of products including kitchenware and mattresses, as well as items from Osim and luxury brand Tiffany & Co.

But some shoppers like Ms Jenny Neo, 57, was more interested in good discounts than the product range.

"I went down to Robinsons during their annual Black Friday sale because of the great discounts. I may come back to (One Assembly) if prices are attractive," the secretary said.

Associate Professor Lawrence Loh from the National University of Singapore Business School agreed that price was an important factor to entice shoppers.

"It is possible for products at different price points to co-exist under the same roof. BHG should not define its product range too narrowly," said Prof Loh. He added that the store's soft launch was timely, coming as Chinese New Year is around the corner.

"If they don't open now, they will miss the golden opportunity. Chinese New Year is a peak shopping season," he said.

When One Assembly officially opens in early February, it will also house two spa cabins for shoppers wishing to relax.

"Having a lifestyle element to the store will help to draw shoppers to check out the store. If the store just sells necessities, people will buy only when they require a particular item," said a shopper who wanted to be known only as Ms Kuen.

Added Mr Jonathan Denis-Jacob, head of consulting and advisory at real estate consultancy Colliers International: "The two experiential spa cabins planned for the store are good examples of unique value propositions that will help the store attract footfall, extend dwell time and increase visit frequency at the new store."

BHG, or Beijing Hualian Group, is a Chinese retailer headquartered in Beijing.

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