Recently, I had been to two new malls during lunchtime: brand new The Star Vista at One-North precinct and the newly renovated Chinatown Point. What did I notice?
There are 52 eateries in the The Star Vista and 34 eateries in Chinatown Point. In terms of shops, there are 24 shops in The Star Vista and 60 shops in Chinatown Point. There are simply too many eating places in each mall. In fact, The Star Vista has more eateries than shops.
On both occasions, these malls were not packed with people. I wonder how shop and eatery owners justify their existence.
I can say the same about some malls along Orchard Road belt, e.g. Orchard Central, Mandarin Gallery, TripleOne Somerset, The Atrium@Orchard. They don’t seem to attract huge people traffic. There are simply too many malls along this stretch and shopping fatigue can be felt moving from one mall to another.
With so many new malls opening, there will be needs to employ retail staff and food and beverage staff. Singaporeans generally do not want jobs in these areas, especially during this period of tight labour market. With impending reduction in Dependency Ratio Ceiling and higher levies for foreign workers, F&B and retail outlet owners will find it even harder to fill positions.
So they scream for more workers, both local and foreign, and easing of foreign worker restrictions. I am not sympathetic to their calls. Business exists to make profit and to adapt to the country’s conditions. If labour is tight, why open more shops or eating places? Where are the people patronising these outlets? It is too often, we see shops come and go. Why come to this state?