JOHOR is a shopping haven for Malaysians and tourists whose goals are to find good bargains at the best possible prices.
In the past decade, more big names in shopping and retail have expanded to Johor, and this has made the southern state a lively shopping destination, gradually becoming on par with the likes of Klang Valley and its immediate neighbour, Singapore.
While a majority of the shopping malls and retail offerings in Johor are located in the state capital of Johor Baru and its surrounding areas in Iskandar Malaysia (situated in south Johor), lesser known shopping malls in other Johor districts are catering to an increasingly affluent crowd with a taste for high fashion brands.
As a result, popular brands such H&M, Uniqlo and Starbucks Coffee have expanded in the state and set up outlets in other big towns including Kluang, Batu Pahat and Muar.
Shoppers from all over Malaysia now flock to the Johor Premium Outlets in Kulai, especially during the festive seasons and mid- and year-end sale periods.
Johor Premium Outlets was developed at a cost of RM300 million six years ago by Genting Simon, a unit of Simon Genting Ltd, which in turn is a 50:50 joint venture between Genting Plantations Bhd and Premium Outlets.
Kluang rediscovering forgotten charms as attractions new and old draw in visitors
For most of the last century, nothing much changed in sleepy and laid-back Kluang, which was once Johor's second most prosperous town after the capital Johor Baru.
In the 1970s and 80s, Kluang seemed to have gone from being a key inland port to a forgotten relic. The importance of its iconic railway station, which served vast tracts of agricultural areas and several manufacturing hubs, diminished in importance after Malaysia beefed up its road and air transport system.
Summer Mall and Kluang Mall have managed to outperform city counterparts due to their marketing strategies to improve customer relations and strengthen market position.