Small Town Malls Faring Better

In Kluang Mall, retail spending for major brands has remained steady, says Tey

The right recipe for success

For malls to succeed nowadays, they must not be just a shopping destination.

The combination of ambience and events play a profound role in attracting shoppers and visitors, says Majupadu Development Sdn Bhd executive director Tey Fui Kien.

That is why Kluang Mall is no longer for shopping alone, she says, adding that it has evolved to become the heart and soul of the community, providing an avenue for leisure, entertainment, dining and social sanctuary for the millennials.

"A primary success factor behind Kluang Mall is our drive to understand the consumer. One of the fundamental exercises conducted was our market research. Our market research conducted in 2013 took almost three months from survey design, data collection and analysis,"she says.

The survey was based on customer exit surveys and revealed meaningful metrics.

"This proved to be helpful in providing our prospective retailers with data in assessing our market. Ultimately, our market research and understanding of shoppers created confidence for retailers to invest in Kluang Mall," Tey explains.

"Another key factor was our management's willingness to invest in Kluang Mall. The mall was completed in 2008. In many competitive markets, the consumer cycle demands that malls reassess their tenant mix and update their ambience every few years.

"In year six, we commenced an asset enhancement initiative in Kluang Mall, which involved major mini-anchor tenant re-zoning. The exercise paved the way for new growth opportunity by introducing a diverse retail tenant mix, including a unique dining experience, The Food street, a throwback to the 60s and 70s local delights uniquely Kluang formed three years ago,"she says.

The management will continue to invest in Kluang Mall to bring it up to the next level as it believes that this approach has definitely encouraged retailers to enter Kluang Mall, Tenaga Nusantara Sdn Bhd senior general manager of corporate affairs Vino Wong tells FocusM.

Efforts were also made to invest in its staff. Twenty years ago, shoppers were simply happy to get inside an air-conditioned box, he says.

"Fast forward to now, they want more than just basic comfort; they want a better experience in every aspect of their daily lives. We must be progressive and deepen consumer engagement to remain relevant," he adds.

"We believe in the importance of setting high goals and creating the plans to achieve them. We started off with the idea of creating a shopping centre as the community hub for every neighbourhood and community in the district and uplift the town where we live," says Tey.

"First we have a purpose-built shopping centre and populated with a solid anchor tenants, Pacific, MBO Cinemas and Popular Book Store. Over time, we achieved other milestones such as the first Brands outlet opening and the first Starbucks for 150km.

"New national brands followed in. We have MBO [six screens and soon expanding to 10], while the 36-lane Ampang SuperBowl is the largest bowling alley in the state. Now we have reached another milestone: international fast fashion brands - H&M, Uniqlo, Cotton on." she says.

Everything has a progression but at the end of the day, he says: "Our tenants are the heart of Kluang Mall. They're the folk responsible for making sure the mall is top-notch, stellar and thriving."

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