NTUC Foodfare latest tenant to exit Kallang Wave

Tenants and shoppers say Kallang Wave Mall tends to be quiet. Mall manager SMRT Alpha says it is bringing in new tenants. NTUC Foodfare reduced the number of stalls in the foodcourt in 2016, even as stallholders complained of poor traffic. Saint Game
Saint Games now occupies part of the space that was once leased by electronics retailer Harvey Norman.ST PHOTO: KHALID BABA
Tenants and shoppers say Kallang Wave Mall tends to be quiet. Mall manager SMRT Alpha says it is bringing in new tenants. NTUC Foodfare reduced the number of stalls in the foodcourt in 2016, even as stallholders complained of poor traffic. Saint Game
NTUC Foodfare reduced the number of stalls in the foodcourt in 2016, even as stallholders complained of poor traffic.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG
Tenants and shoppers say Kallang Wave Mall tends to be quiet. Mall manager SMRT Alpha says it is bringing in new tenants. NTUC Foodfare reduced the number of stalls in the foodcourt in 2016, even as stallholders complained of poor traffic. Saint Game
Tenants and shoppers say Kallang Wave Mall tends to be quiet. Mall manager SMRT Alpha says it is bringing in new tenants. ST PHOTO: MELANIE ANNE BICKHAM

Other businesses that have left quiet mall beside Sports Hub include Harvey Norman, Forever 21

One of the biggest tenants at Kallang Wave Mall, NTUC Foodfare foodcourt, has packed up, raising questions over how businesses in the shopping centre beside the Sports Hub are faring.

This comes after other major tenants such as fashion retailer Forever 21 and electronics chain store Harvey Norman also closed their outlets at the mall.

Foodfare's last day was June 24 and its premises were taken over by My Kampung, a halal foodcourt run by Yu Kee Group, on Monday.

"Our lease at Kallang Wave Mall has ended and we did not extend the lease due to business considerations," said a spokesman for NTUC Foodfare, without elaborating.

In 2016, Foodfare reduced the number of stalls in the foodcourt, even as stallholders complained of poor traffic. Its departure has affected some tenants.

A hairdresser at hair salon KCuts 10, which is next door, said there are noticeably fewer customers now.

In a visit to the mall on Tuesday, there were several other empty shop units, including those once occupied by sports store Sportslink, PureGold and Forever 21.

Tenants and shoppers said the mall tends to be quiet. An employee at fashion retailer H&M said there are far fewer people in the Kallang Wave outlet compared with the chain store's outlets in Harbour-Front and Orchard Road.

"During sales at the other malls, it would be crazy. I would be running around non-stop. Here, it's not as stressful, and we can cope even with fewer people working here than the other outlets," she added.

When contacted, Ms Judy Wee, the general manager of SMRT Alpha, the mall's manager, said: "We are revitalising our space and bringing in new tenants to enhance the shopping, dining and entertainment experience in the mall."

But business is steady for some other tenants, such as Fun Toast and Cue Guru, a snooker and entertainment hall popular with teenagers and young adults.

Some patrons said they would miss Foodfare. "It's a shame it's gone," said student Anne Lee, 19, whose family ate there every Sunday after church.

Slow business at the mall could be due to its location, said retail experts. Associate Professor Seshan Ramaswami, who teaches marketing at the Singapore Management University, said new malls in Singapore also put pressure on all other shopping centres to work harder on promotions and events to draw shoppers.

Kallang Wave Mall opened in 2014 and features a FairPrice Xtra sports-themed hypermarket. New businesses include Neue Fit, a lifestyle fitness and martial arts studio, and Kara, offering healthy grain bowls and yogurt, said Ms Wee.

Stephanie Ng, 18, who is waiting to enrol in university, frequents Cue Guru and does not mind the mall being quieter. "On the bright side, my friends and I don't have to wait in long queues for food and games," she said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 06, 2018, with the headline 'NTUC Foodfare latest tenant to exit Kallang Wave'. Print Edition | Subscribe