Covid-19 has created a gaping hole in Singapore’s retail sector as stores see decreased footfall and revenue with more people shopping online from home.
It resulted in store closures and a slew of bankruptcies from major brands such as Sportslink, MUJI and GNC.
Expansion is the last thing on their plans as they are busy trying to keep their existing outlets afloat. However, that is not the case for these brands which has been growing their retail presence here.
From F&B to fashion, these brands continue to expand by adding more outlets to their arsenal.
American burger chain Five Guys is opening its second outlet in the heartlands at Nex shopping centre in Serangoon by 2021.
They are known for their customisable burgers, that start from S$11, with unlimited toppings.
The burgers are paired with hand-cut potato fries and milkshakes where you can add up to 11 toppings.
It first opened its flagship outlet at Plaza Singapura last year, to snaking queues.
American “fine-casual” burger chain Shake Shack has announced that it will be opening its fourth outlet at Suntec City on 30 September.
They are known for their gourmet hamburgers, hot dogs, crinkle-cut french fries, and milkshakes.
Their third outlet at Liat Towers was opened on 5 August. The chain had opened a second outlet at Neil Road in February this year, after setting up its first Singapore outpost at Jewel Changi Airport last year.
This month, iPhone maker Apple launched their latest outlet at Marina Bay Sands — their most ambitious retail project yet — and it sits directly on water.
Shaped like a sphere, Apple’s third retail store in Singapore floats on the iridescent Marina Bay.
It is also the world’s first floating Apple store and allows customers to enjoy a panoramic view of the Singapore skyline.
Other Apple outlets are located on Orchard Road and at Jewel Changi Airport.
Earlier this month, homegrown fashion apparel brand Love, Bonito opened its latest and fourth outlet at VivoCity.
The new 4,300 sq ft store is their second largest after their Funan store and is designed for families.
The store boasts of kid-friendly features and the aisles are designed with more space for prams in between racks of clothes.
Love, Bonito started out as an e-commerce store before venturing into brick-and-mortar and launching its flagship store at Orchard.
BreadTalk’s new cafe concept, Butter Bean, has recently entered the F&B industry.
It is the more modern version and cooler sibling of contemporary coffee chain Toast Box. This also marks parent company BreadTalk Group’s foray into the cafe scene.
Its first outlet at Funan Mall opened on 28 August, with the second outlet opening on 10 September at VivoCity.
It sells elevated thick toasts, Korean-inspired sandwiches and upgraded Nanyang coffee.
Kenny Rogers Roasters
Kenny Rogers Roasters is famous for their Rotisserie-roasted chicken and the Kenny’s Nasi Lemak.
The chicken-based restaurant chain had shuttered all its Singapore stores in April last year.
Days later, local F&B company Lao Huo Tang Group took over its franchise rights and reopened its first outlet in Jem within the same year.
Last week (29 August), Kenny Rogers Roasters announced the opening of a second outlet in Century Square, where it was once located.
French sporting goods retailer Decathlon opened its fifth experience store, Decathlon Orchard at The Centrepoint shopping mall.
The retail outlet spans two floors and six units, occupying a 3200 sqm area. The store will feature some 5000 products spanning more than 50 sports.
It also replaces Metro as The Centrepoint’s anchor tenant and has other outlets in various locations from Joo Koon to City Square.
It was reported that while overall retail numbers in Singapore were down by close to nine per cent in July, Decathlon saw a 38 per cent increase in sales. Its online sales in July also grew by more than 300 per cent.
Furniture and electronics giant Harvey Norman will soon add three new stores to its current number of 12.
Among its new stores is the 9,100 sqft Seletar Mall branch which opened on 15 September.
They also opened a 32,000 sq ft Superstore at The Centrepoint on 22 September, with four departments — electrical, computers, furniture and bedding.
It will also launch a 16,000 sqft store in Westgate at the end of the year.
Footwear brand Skechers has rolled out five new stores in Singapore since July, and one of the five new retail outlets is at Suntec City.
This takes its store count to 30 and they have employed 40 additional staff to man them.
The brand epitomises style, innovation, comfort and quality and also features versatile designs for different purposes.
Last July, it opened a new brand experience store at Singapore’s Jewel Changi Airport, serving as their largest Southeast Asian store to date.
Thai online fast-fashion retailer Pomelo has a flagship store located at 313@Somerset in Singapore.
Over the past few months, it has rolled out more stores in Thailand, and the company said it will enter Indonesia and Malaysia next.
As part of its Southeast Asian retail expansion, it will also open a second store at Nex mall in Singapore in November.
Singapore boutique gym franchise Ritual Gym is the latest brand to open a new outlet — at 270 Orchard Road.
Located next to the Apple Store, this is the start-up’s fourth outlet in Singapore and its largest one to date.
Spanning 3000 sqft, Ritual Gym Orchard Road offers up to 185 sessions per week with sessions running every 30 minutes. Ritual Gym is renowned for their short, efficient HIIT workouts.
The new outlet was supposed to launch in April, but the circuit breaker put a halt to its plans. However, while gyms were closed, Ritual Gym developed the Ritual Fit app (previously Ritual Anywhere) as a value added service for members while they were stuck at home.
With offices in the CBD closed for the rest of the year, there is a clear uptake on gym usage in the non-CBD residential areas and Orchard Road.
Retail’s Not Dead
The latest casualty is UK fashion retailer Topshop which closed its last physical store in Singapore and moved online entirely.
However, with more brands exiting the market, there are more good locations available now.
This presents an opportunity for existing players to snap up attractive retail units that have been vacated and with the retail slump, mall operators are more open to negotiations for rental fees.
Retail rents are expected to decline by between four and 14 per cent for the whole of 2020.
While many retailers are struggling to remain commercially viable during the Covid-19 crisis, this could be a good time to expand.
Featured Image Credit: Danielfooddiary / Apple / Love, Bonito / Pomelo / Harvey Norman