Businesses In Jurong Gateway Are Doomed To Fail!

It came as no surprise when another business establishment at Jurong Gateway proclaimed that it is going to exit the premise end of this April. Mired in losses, Koufu food court at JEM explained there was no concurrence with the mall management for their renewal of lease. Hence, the conclusion was to take their leave.

Many stallholders were shocked as the notice for vacating their stalls was quite abrupt. They caught themselves at a loss of what to do. There was the need to look for alternative places of operation. Some even had invested in setting up their stalls, closing them now would mean losses for them.

Being part of the Jurong Lake District, Jurong Gateway is in the pipeline of becoming a business hub in the west. Jurong Lake District is supposedly to become a second Central Business District of the island.

As we look back, many businesses which used to operate in Jurong Gateway have not been able to overcome the financial predicaments and sustain their operations as well. Majority of them were even big players which have existed in the consumers’ market for a significant period of time. The strong may even fail.

In JEM, Marks & Spencer said their last goodbye in June 2019. Robinsons ended business in August 2020. These department stores had not been teeming with crowd of customers. Neighbouring mall, Westgate, faced the same fate of closures of stores within either. Isetan closed down in Dec 2019. Prior to the closure, I had a chance to check out with one of their sales assistants, the outlet was not making money. Retail outlet, Tokyu Hands, pricey for its Japanese products, went off in August 2020. These stores had run their businesses for a span of 6 to 7 years.

A spokesperson from Robinsons made the following statement when interviewed:

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

Situated right opposite JEM, Big Box once boasted a mega furniture mall clustered with electronics store, warehouse mart, retail outlets, food court, eatery, had ceased its operation since around 2018. A massive eight-storey building had then become an empty box until it was turned into a care facility.

In retrospect, perhaps these businesses should have not taken this risky step at all to venture into the region. Without shrewd foresight, businesses have tried to reach for the moon. It is not difficult to see why so many businesses have to fold up. In spite of having a population of more than 1 million in the west, the number simply cannot support them and so many businesses there at the same time. Singapore is too small to hold more commercial or business hubs. Hopefully, investors and business people will be more realistic in their investment of any business location.

<A.S.S. Contributor>

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