Tokyu Hands' Westgate outlet to close in August

Tokyu Hands' closure follows the expiration of its lease. ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

SINGAPORE - Tokyu Hands is closing its Westgate outlet in August, said the Japanese retailer in a Facebook post on Wednesday (July 1).

The department store is the fourth notable retailer in two neighbouring Jurong East malls - Westgate and Jem - to close since June last year.

British store Marks & Spencer closed its Jem outlet then, and was replaced by Japanese mega discount retailer Don Don Donki.

Japanese department store Isetan shut its Westgate outlet in March this year after it did not renew its lease.

Robinsons in Jem will also close in August. It will be replaced by Swedish retailer Ikea next year.

Customers have about a month to patronise the Tokyu Hands outlet, before its last day of operations on Aug 2.

A Westgate spokesman said Tokyu Hands' closure follows the expiration of its lease.

It will be replaced by Sports & Travel Gear, a multi-label store.

The spokesman said the expiration of leases gives the mall opportunities to refresh its tenant mix and keep offerings "fresh and attractive" for its shoppers.

Two new anchor tenants, Harvey Norman and supermarket retailer Eccellente by HAO mart, will open in the second half of 2020.

Nanyang Polytechnic School of Business Management director Esther Ho said that while the Jurong area remains a strategic location for businesses as a large population lives in the west, the exit of big retailers like Isetan and Robinsons may have an effect on smaller retailers.

"A good mix of bigger tenants gives the mall a greater gravitational pull as customers have more incentives to visit a mall," she said.

Ms Ho added that amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the expiration of leases also gives retailers the chance to sit back and re-evaluate their position and consolidate their resources.

"Businesses could take a wait-and-see approach, and wait out market uncertainty before negotiating new leases with landlords," she added.

Customers told The Straits Times that they were disappointed about Tokyu Hands' closure.

Mr Jimmy Chow, 55, an accountant, said: "It is located near my workplace, so I go there quite often.

"I enjoy the quality of the Japanese goods they bring in, and it will be hard to find something similar in the western area."

Roice Soo, a 17-year-old student, said: "I go there because they have everything. It's quite a destination, so it's pretty sad that they are closing down."

While Roice added that the exit of major retailers might cause him to spend less time at the Jurong East malls, he will continue to visit them.

Opened in September 2014, Tokyu Hands' store in Westgate was the company's first in Singapore. It has five other outlets in Orchard Central, Suntec City, Jewel Changi Airport, PLQ Mall and Great World City.

It is best known for quirky homeware products and do-it-yourself items, such as typhoon-resistant umbrellas, socks for the legs of chairs and mobile phone charms.

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