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Malls at Somerset unite to boost shopper traffic

Three malls along Orchard Road - Singapore's premier shopping belt - are planning to work together to drive greater synergy between their tenant mix.

SINGAPORE: Three malls along Orchard Road - Singapore's premier shopping belt - are planning to work together to drive greater synergy between their tenant mix.

New kid on the block orchardgateway, along with 313@somerset and Orchard Central, have formed a steering committee to look at ways to boost shopper traffic - a first among competing malls in Singapore, said analysts.

orchardgateway straddles both sides of Orchard Road.

Its main wing, which accounts for 90 percent of the mall's tenants, is already open.

The mall has achieved nearly full occupancy, with stores opening in phases over the next few months.

orchardgateway has a total net lettable area of some 167,000 square feet.

It is part of a mixed development comprising a 500-room hotel and six-storey office space.

With the opening of orchardgateway and orchardgateway@emerald at the end of the year, the Somerset shopping precinct -- including 313@somerset, Orchard Central and orchardgateway -- will be the most inter-connected section along Orchard Road.

Shoppers can access malls on either side, using the 53-metre glass overhead bridge, a first on Orchard Road, as well as the underpass.

The three malls will be connected on basement 2, and levels 1 and 4, while orchardgateway and Orchard Central are also linked on levels 2 and 3.

orchardgateway said there are about 10 connection points between the three malls. This inter-connectivity prompted the malls to work together.

Jane Lee, senior executive, advertising and promotions, at orchardgateway, said: "We will have more synergy in terms of the planning of our events and promotions to drive more traffic to this part of Orchard Road.

“It is quite competitive for the market, so it makes more sense to have the three malls to work together."

Ms Lee said some joint events could include fashion shows which can be staged at Discovery Walk, an F&B and fashion strip that cuts across all three malls.

Sulian Claire, senior director of retail and lifestyle at Savills, said: "There's always a conscious effort to create a different shopping experience and not to duplicate what 313 and Orchard Central are already providing.

“For example, you have a food court at 313, you have fast food in the other malls -- the percentage of F&B versus the other mix at orchardgateway is actually lower than the other two malls."

Savills, orchardgateway's marketing agent, said the greater connectivity could potentially boost shopper traffic in the area by 30 percent.

Such collaborations are likely to benefit both landlords and consumers.

Desmond Sim, research head at CBRE, said: "It is beneficial for the malls, so they do not eat into each other's demand pie, don't cannibalise each other's business.

“It gives shoppers a very good shopping experience. For example, if you look beyond our shores in Hong Kong, if you look at Central, it has got the shopping node where everything is connected."

Far East Organization, which owns Orchard Central, said a brand agency has been appointed to create an exciting brand identity for the "Somerset on Orchard" shopping precinct.

Mavis Seow, chief operating officer of retail business group at Far East Organization, said: "At the planning stage, Orchard Central and orchardgateway had collaborated to ensure that architecturally and functionally, the two malls were developed in a seamless manner.

“These linkages are meant to create a new shopping zone that offers seamless, all-weather connectivity and a critical mass of retail options for shoppers.

“The two malls also have shared carpark facilities and there are ample signages to provide directions to both malls and MRT station. With the enhanced connectivity, we have seen an increase in footfalls to Orchard Central." 

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