Robinsons to close Jem outlet in August

The closure of the store will leave Robinsons with two outlets - at The Heeren and Raffles City Shopping Centre. PHOTO: ROBINSON'S

SINGAPORE - Department store Robinsons will soon be closing its outlet at shopping mall Jem.

The department store announced on Wednesday (May 6) that it would exit the mall at the end of August following amiable discussions with the mall's landlord Lendlease. Discussions have been ongoing since November last year.

The closure of the store, which opened at Jem in 2013, will leave Robinsons with two outlets - at The Heeren and Raffles City Shopping Centre.

Robinsons said its management is "committed to ensuring viable and successful operations in Singapore" and that it looks forward to continue serving customers at its other locations.

A Robinsons spokesman told The Straits Times: "The retail scene has changed dramatically over the past decade, and our business decisions are always heavily weighed, considering multiple factors.

"Within the Singapore context, having multiple large-scale destination department stores was no longer a sustainable option."

In response to questions about what will happen to staff at the Jem outlet, the Robinsons spokesman said the company is working with staff to move them to other Robinsons outlets, to other brands under the Al-Futtaim Group which include Marks & Spencer and Zara, or to help them find other employment with Jem.

The company also said that plans to revamp its e-commerce platform are in the works.

To reach out to more customers online, Robinsons also recently launched its digital Robinsons Department Store on e-commerce marketplace LazMall last month.

Robinsons is not the first department store to experience a closure due to the challenging retail landscape here.

Earlier this year, Isetan shuttered its outlet at Jurong's Westgate mall and Metro closed its flagship store at The Centrepoint last year after five years as the mall's anchor tenant.

Department store John Little closed its last outlet in Singapore in 2016.

Robinsons, owned by Dubai-based Al-Futtaim Group, was established in 1858 by English merchant Philip Robinson and James Gaborian Spicer, a former keeper of the Singapore jail.

Robinsons has been at Raffles City Shopping Centre since 2001 and its 186,000 sq ft flagship at The Heeren opened in 2013.

The department store's flagship outlet was previously located at The Centrepoint for 31 years up till 2014.

The Straits Times has contacted Robinsons for comment.

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