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Old March 7th, 2005, 11:25 AM   #41
TYW
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Quote:
Originally Posted by baqthier
wah..what exactly do they have at Gurney Plaza?
they have great architecture loh!! he he...i'll post some pics later
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THE CITY OF GEORGE TOWN, PENANG (1ST JANUARY 1957)

"the said Municipality of George Town shall on the First Day of January in the Year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and fifty seven and forever thereafter be a city and shall be called and styled the CITY OF GEORGE TOWN instead of the Municipality of George Town and shall thenceforth have all such rank, liberties, privileges and immunities as are incident to a city." - Queen Elizabeth II
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Old March 7th, 2005, 12:10 PM   #42
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gurney plaza have these:



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THE CITY OF GEORGE TOWN, PENANG (1ST JANUARY 1957)

"the said Municipality of George Town shall on the First Day of January in the Year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and fifty seven and forever thereafter be a city and shall be called and styled the CITY OF GEORGE TOWN instead of the Municipality of George Town and shall thenceforth have all such rank, liberties, privileges and immunities as are incident to a city." - Queen Elizabeth II
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Old March 7th, 2005, 12:21 PM   #43
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THE CITY OF GEORGE TOWN, PENANG (1ST JANUARY 1957)

"the said Municipality of George Town shall on the First Day of January in the Year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and fifty seven and forever thereafter be a city and shall be called and styled the CITY OF GEORGE TOWN instead of the Municipality of George Town and shall thenceforth have all such rank, liberties, privileges and immunities as are incident to a city." - Queen Elizabeth II
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Old March 7th, 2005, 12:22 PM   #44
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THE CITY OF GEORGE TOWN, PENANG (1ST JANUARY 1957)

"the said Municipality of George Town shall on the First Day of January in the Year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and fifty seven and forever thereafter be a city and shall be called and styled the CITY OF GEORGE TOWN instead of the Municipality of George Town and shall thenceforth have all such rank, liberties, privileges and immunities as are incident to a city." - Queen Elizabeth II
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Old March 7th, 2005, 12:34 PM   #45
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I cant' wait for Penang Times Square
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Old March 7th, 2005, 12:42 PM   #46
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I cant' wait for Penang Times Square
you have to wait till 2010 for it to fully complete
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THE CITY OF GEORGE TOWN, PENANG (1ST JANUARY 1957)

"the said Municipality of George Town shall on the First Day of January in the Year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and fifty seven and forever thereafter be a city and shall be called and styled the CITY OF GEORGE TOWN instead of the Municipality of George Town and shall thenceforth have all such rank, liberties, privileges and immunities as are incident to a city." - Queen Elizabeth II
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Old March 23rd, 2005, 12:47 PM   #47
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Monday March 21, 2005

Retail space oversupply in Penang to worsen?
BY DAVID TAN IN PENANG

SINCE the mid-1990s, Penang has experienced a mushrooming of shopping centres on the island and the mainland.

The One-Stop Midlands Park Centre (Jalan Burma), Prangin Mall (in Jalan Dr Lim Chwee Leong), Megamall Pinang (in Bandar Perai Jaya), Kompleks Bukit Jambul (in Bayan Baru), and Island Plaza (in Tanjung Tokong) were some of the shopping complexes that emerged in the second half of the 90s.

The early 21st century continues to see the emergence of new shopping malls and fresh development plans for shopping centres on the island. The new players included Gurney Plaza shopping mall (in Gurney Drive), which opened in 2001.

Local developers such as the Hunza Properties and Ivory Properties have announced plans to develop shopping centres and retail properties in key strategic locations on the island. With a population of slightly over a million, the question of whether the supply of retail properties would eventually exceed the demand inevitably arises.

Some property consultants have sounded the alarm.

Henry Butcher Shopping Centres Consultant Sdn Bhd managing director Tan Hai Hsin said there had been an oversupply situation in the shopping centre industry of Penang since the Asian financial and economic crisis in 1997.

“Shopping centres such as Prangin Mall, Gurney Plaza, City Parade (in Bukit Mertajam), Plaza Utama (in Bukit Mertajam), ASAS Plaza (in Tanjung Bungah) and Megamal Pinang, which opened during the Asian crisis, were not immediately filled up, compared to those which opened during pre-crisis period like Island Plaza, One-Stop Midlands Park Centre, Kompleks Bukit Jambul, and Sunshine Square (in Bayan Baru).

“The oversupply situation will worsen. An additional 4.1 million sq ft of retail space is expected to enter the Penang market in the next three years (see table) with new shopping centres being planned for the southwest district of the island, Air Itam, and Seberang Jaya.

“The new shopping centres being planned include Billion in Seberang Jaya, Giant and Bayan Central in Bayan Baru, and Farlim Megamall in Ayer Itam.

“The incomplete Bayan Bay mixed-development project in the southwest district will also be revived to include a shopping mall,” he said, adding that the oversupply had affected the retail property values.

“In certain prime locations such as in Prangin Mall and Gurney Plaza, however, rental rates continue to increase. However, smaller shopping centres on non-strategic locations, with retail space of less than 200,000sq ft, such as Penang Plaza (in Jalan Burma), Gembira Parade (in Island Park), and Axis Plaza (in Jalan Cantonment) suffer from low rental and poor occupancy rates.”

Tan said that for a shopping mall to be successful in Penang, it must be centrally located and have the size to offer a wide variety of products and services.

“Penang has a small land area and population and it does not require more than one hour to travel to most parts of the island and the mainland. A shopping centre that is centrally located and easily accessible by its shoppers will enjoy great success.

“For example, Prangin Mall is strategically located for Penang consumers living in both island and mainland, while Gurney Plaza is surrounded by high concentration of middle-upper income residents. The other important factor is size. Prangin Mall is popular because it has 900,000 sq ft of retail space and 593 shops, while Gurney Plaza has 700,000sq ft of retail space and 300 retail shops.

“Kompleks Bukit Jambul, in the southern region of the island, has 600,000 sq ft of retail space and 433 tenants,” he noted.

Rahim & Co Chartered Surveyors (Penang) Sdn Bhd managing director Tay Lai Hee said that in view of the plan to build more shopping complexes and retail properties on the island, developers should take a cautious approach to planning their projects to avoid competition with existing ones.

“They have to come up with new concepts of shopping malls that provide more than just shopping facilities, as shoppers look forward to more than just shopping at a shopping centre.

“They must also do research to assess the supply and demand situation to determine the appropriate size for their project,” he said.

Raine & Horne International Zaki + Partners Sdn Bhd partner Michael Geh, however, takes a different view. “Firstly it is important to point out that the retail businesses here do not just cater only to the Penang population. They draw out-of-state shoppers from towns such as Alor Setar, Sungai Petani, Kulim, and Taiping.

On top of this crowd, the retail businesses here also receive support of tourists from neighbouring countries such as Singapore, Indonesia, and Thailand. While the inflow of tourists from Europe may have decreased, there has been a substantial surge in the influx of tourists from the Middle East.”

According to Geh, the issue is not an oversupply of retail spaces in shopping centres.

“The question is whether the management of a shopping complex has adopted an effective strategy to position itself for competition. “The ingredients of an effective strategy would involve having the right tenant mix and trendy lifestyle facilities for the shopping mall,” he said.

Geh said that in 1997, when the economy was sluggish, the feedback was that there was an oversupply of shopping complexes in the Klang Valley.

“Today, shopping centres in the Klang Valley are congested every weekend and there are construction works going on to build more shopping complexes,” he added.

According to Intra Harta Consultants (North) Sdn Bhd manager Peh Seng Yee, the market is slowly absorbing the oversupply of retail spaces in shopping complex due to the improving economy over the past few years.

“There has not been any completion of new shopping complexes since Gurney Plaza, enabling the mismatch of supply and demand to be corrected gradually.

“The recent announcements of newly proposed shopping complexes by developers reflect their confidence of the demand for certain categories of retail accommodation.

“These projects would come into the market in the next two to three years to provide another batch of new shopping avenues to the people of Penang rather than flooding the market,” he said.

Peh said over the past few years, due to an improved economic climate, market rentals and prices generally remained stable or increased gradually for the better performing shopping centres.

“However, there has been continued downward pressure on rentals of retail accommodation in older secondary buildings, particularly those that are inferior in terms of floor layout and design and which are located in less sought-after areas where accessibility is poor,” he added.
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THE CITY OF GEORGE TOWN, PENANG (1ST JANUARY 1957)

"the said Municipality of George Town shall on the First Day of January in the Year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and fifty seven and forever thereafter be a city and shall be called and styled the CITY OF GEORGE TOWN instead of the Municipality of George Town and shall thenceforth have all such rank, liberties, privileges and immunities as are incident to a city." - Queen Elizabeth II
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Old March 23rd, 2005, 12:49 PM   #48
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Monday March 21, 2005

Fresh image vital for complexes
BY DAVID TAN

A FRESH image is key in maintaining the competitive edge of a successful shopping complex in an increasingly challenging retail climate.

Sunshine Square Bayan Baru, which opened in 1993, undergoes a minor upgrading exercise and a major one every two and eight years, respectively. The shopping complex has 148,534 sq ft of retail space and is 100% occupied.

Cynthia Hwang, executive director of Sunshine Wholesale Mart Sdn Bhd which owns and manage the shopping complex, said in an interview: “We have a well-managed sinking fund system that enables us to upgrade our image and merchandise regularly.” Last year, the management injected RM7mil into the renovation of its Sunshine Square – the biggest upgrading exercise the group had ever launched.

The renovation, completed last November, involved expanding the product range and putting in new layout designs that give more visibility to the merchandise displayed in the shopping centre.

The management has recently spent RM8mil into expanding its supermarket inside the shopping complex.

“We'll add 40,000 sq ft to the current 35,000 sq ft supermarket. The 40,000 sq ft space is currently the food court, but it will be incorporated into the supermarket, linked by a travelator. The additional floor area will give us the room to increase the range of our merchandise and broaden the walkways of the supermarket,” Hwang said.

Carrying out an upgrading exercise and delivering a fresh image help maintain the competitive edge of the shopping complex. But there are other aspects as well.

“For example, due to our reputation as a good paymaster, we are able to maintain a network of loyal suppliers. These days, with the presence of a large number of shopping complexes, supermarkets, and hypermarkets in Penang, suppliers tend to be selective as to who they supply to. In addition, we are located in the middle of a densely populated residential community in Bayan Baru,” she said.

Lee Beng Beng, the manager of Island Plaza, said the shopping mall’s trendy image and reputation for having a good mix of international and local brand names had helped the mall remain competitive. In operation since 1995, Island Plaza, with 150 shop lots and 350,000 sq ft of retail space, is 80% rented out.

“We have recently refurbished the interior of the mall, equipping it with fresh layouts, signs, and additional customer friendly features. We also repainted the exterior of the mall to give it a more appealing look,” he said.

In addition to maintaining an up-to-date image, one of the strategies that Island Plaza implements to stay competitive in the retail business is the negotiable rental scheme.

“Under such a scheme, rentals are paid according to the percentage of sales achieved on top of a low base rental. This means if they are able to achieve a higher volume of sales, they pay more; if they achieve less, they pay less,” he said.

Lee said that it was good news that there were new projects planned to accommodate shopping malls and retail lots.

According to Gurney Plaza Sdn Bhd marketing and communications manager Pauline Teh, Gurney Plaza’s solid reputation and image as an exclusive lifestyle mall, offering an array of products and services to different category of shoppers, had enabled it to position itself as a prime site for many retail business.

Gurney Plaza, strategically located at Gurney Drive, has about 700,000 sq ft of retail space and some 300 shoplots, and is over 90% occupied. Teh said Gurney Plaza was now renovating its third and fourth floors, scheduled for completion in June.

“Last year, we renovated the first and second floors. The aim of the renovations is to give our interior a new layout, which would benefit our tenants,” she said, adding that this was the first time Gurney Plaza was renovating since it opened for business in 2001.

Teh said that on top of image and prime location, Gurney Plaza’s rentals were competitive enough to lure tenants with sound retail business plans to take up spaces at our mall.

Meanwhile, Komtar (Kompleks Tun Abdul Razak) Merchants Association chairman Jimmy Chan Heng Sin laments that Komtar lacked a fresh image.

Chan urged the PDC Setia Urus Sdn Bhd and Pen Events Sdn Bhd, the two bodies responsible for maintenance and promotional activities for Komtar, to upgrade the complex's image.

“Although the management has spent about RM35mil on upgrading works for Komtar, the shopping mall still needs a fresh image that appeals to the new generation of shoppers,” he said.

According to Chan, the growth of new shopping malls was faster than the growth of the population.

“Competition arising from new shopping malls, the decline in tourism, and the slow economy has led to the depreciation of the value of retail properties in Komtar.

“Occupancy rate of Komtar has also dropped to 80% from 85% two to three years ago. Many of these tenants have moved out to strategically located newer shopping malls,” he said.

He noted that during the first half of the 90s, when the country’s economy was booming, the retail rental in Komtar went up as high as RM30 per sq ft for those on prime locations and RM8 per sq ft for those in non- strategic zones. “In the second half of the 90s, retail rentals dropped to about RM18 per sq for prime location lots and RM4 per sq ft for non-strategic premises. “Retail rentals in Komtar are likely to drop slightly again in the future in view of the new shopping mall projects being planned,” he said.
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THE CITY OF GEORGE TOWN, PENANG (1ST JANUARY 1957)

"the said Municipality of George Town shall on the First Day of January in the Year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and fifty seven and forever thereafter be a city and shall be called and styled the CITY OF GEORGE TOWN instead of the Municipality of George Town and shall thenceforth have all such rank, liberties, privileges and immunities as are incident to a city." - Queen Elizabeth II
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Old March 23rd, 2005, 12:50 PM   #49
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hmm....looks like i gotta go to sunshine square to have a look
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THE CITY OF GEORGE TOWN, PENANG (1ST JANUARY 1957)

"the said Municipality of George Town shall on the First Day of January in the Year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and fifty seven and forever thereafter be a city and shall be called and styled the CITY OF GEORGE TOWN instead of the Municipality of George Town and shall thenceforth have all such rank, liberties, privileges and immunities as are incident to a city." - Queen Elizabeth II
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Old March 23rd, 2005, 01:57 PM   #50
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ooo...Secret Recipe! I wish they open a branch here in Brunei for a couple of months
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Old March 24th, 2005, 04:37 AM   #51
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I am more concerned about the half-constructed building next to Gurney Plaza... that's very annoying and spoilt the whole image... please do something to the building... or rather... are they doing something to it now/
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Old March 24th, 2005, 10:15 AM   #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magician
I am more concerned about the half-constructed building next to Gurney Plaza... that's very annoying and spoilt the whole image... please do something to the building... or rather... are they doing something to it now/
yeah!! it has been revived!! check out the u/c @ penang thread

hopefully the Bayan World Megamall gets revived next
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THE CITY OF GEORGE TOWN, PENANG (1ST JANUARY 1957)

"the said Municipality of George Town shall on the First Day of January in the Year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and fifty seven and forever thereafter be a city and shall be called and styled the CITY OF GEORGE TOWN instead of the Municipality of George Town and shall thenceforth have all such rank, liberties, privileges and immunities as are incident to a city." - Queen Elizabeth II
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Old April 16th, 2005, 09:28 AM   #53
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April 13, 2005 18:57 PM

Giant Hypermarket In Penang End Of 2005

PENANG, April 13 (Bernama) -- Operators of the hypermarket, Giant, Dairy Farm Giant Retail Sdn Bhd is spreading its wings in the country with plans to set up another branch in Jalan Tengah, Bayan Baru here, this year.

The hypermarket which is scheduled to start operations by end of this year would be built on a 185,000 sq ft-piece of land belonging to Koperasi Tunas Muda Sg. Ara Bhd with a cost of RM40 million.

Director of Dairy Farm Giant, John Coyle, said that the building of the hypermarket would help to develop businesses in the area while establishing the area as a shopping, recreational and community centre.

He said the company has also tied up with 80 Bumiputera entrepreneurs from the small and medium industries (SMIs) to supply more than 1,056 types of products under a Bumiputera Entrepreneurs Development Programme.

"This way, we would be able to give the assistance and guidance for the Bumiputera SMIs who intend to expand their business through the shops in the Giant complex.

"More than 600 job opportunities would be also made available to the locals here," he said in his speech at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding here Wednesday between Dairy Farm and Koperasi Tunas Muda.

At the signing, Dairy Farm was represented by Coyle, while Koperasi Tunas Muda was represented by its chairman, Rahim Osman.

A total of 26 shop lots, 30 mobile stalls and 845 parking lots would be made ready along with the hypermarket.

The Giant chain of stores currently employs 6,500 people around the country with 16 branches nationwide. Another branch is expected to be opened in Ipoh, Perak this year.

-- BERNAMA
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THE CITY OF GEORGE TOWN, PENANG (1ST JANUARY 1957)

"the said Municipality of George Town shall on the First Day of January in the Year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and fifty seven and forever thereafter be a city and shall be called and styled the CITY OF GEORGE TOWN instead of the Municipality of George Town and shall thenceforth have all such rank, liberties, privileges and immunities as are incident to a city." - Queen Elizabeth II
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Old April 16th, 2005, 10:43 AM   #54
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Wow... GIANT, CAREFOUR, TESCO, SUNSHINE... so many...
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Old April 18th, 2005, 09:53 AM   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magician
Wow... GIANT, CAREFOUR, TESCO, SUNSHINE... so many...
.....and IKEA???

Quote:
Originally Posted by TYW
18-12-2003: Ikano keen to open more stores
9.26am


IKANO Corporation Sdn Bhd, the franchise owner of the home furnishing store IKEA, is keen to open several more stores in the country, its director, Joseph Lau, said today.

“We have such plans in the medium to long-term. But the question is when. Only time will tell,” he said at the official opening of the IKANO Power Centre retail mall by the Ambassador of Sweden, Bruno Beijer.

Lau, who is also IKEA’s general manager, said the company had been looking for land to build new IKEA stores in Penang, Johor Bahru and the Klang Valley but nothing has been finalised. — Bernama

Melewar’s profit falls 22%
Melewar Industrial Group Bhd recorded net profit of RM32.83 million for nine months ended Oct 31, a 21.6% drop from RM41.87 million a year earlier due to margins being depressed by prevailing soft market conditions and higher raw material cost.

Melewar’s revenue increased to RM349.06 million from RM300.78 million a year earlier.

Melewar said yesterday the company’s principal subsidiary, Cold Rolling Industry (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd recorded revenue of RM208.1 million and a profit before tax of RM26.8 million.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TYW
12-12-2003: IKEA expects to exceed sales target of RM180 mil

By Doreen Leong, 6.20pm


IKANO Corporation Sdn Bhd, owner of global home furnishing giant brand IKEA in Malaysia, is confident of exceeding its targeted annual sales of RM180 million for the financial year ending Aug 31, 2004.

“We are confident of meeting our expected sales," its executive director Joseph Lau told reporters on Dec 12 at the soft launch of IKANO Power Centre, a retail mall, in Mutiara Damansara, Petaling Jaya.

He said part of the optimism arose from the fact that many people had been coming from outside the Klang Valley to shop at the store during weekends.

Lau said IKEA was poised to establish itself as a unique retail mall owner following the opening in August of its largest stand-alone store in Asia in Mutiara Damansara.

He said IKEA would ride on the successes of its first store in the One Utama shopping complex. IKEA has shifted its previous operations at the shopping complex to the stand-alone store in Mutiara Damansara.

On the IKANO Power Centre, IKANO spent RM125 million to fund the purchase of property and construction of the four-storey 420,000 sq ft retail mall. IKEA is occupying 360,000 sq ft at an adjoining building to the IKANO Power Centre.

Lau said the centre is an American concept in which anchor tenants occupied 80% of its total space, while smaller tenants took up the balance.

Of the combined retail space involving IKEA's store and the IKANO Power Centre, Lau said about 95% of its lettable space was currently tenanted by 88 tenants, of which 12 are anchor tenants that include IKEA itself.

IKANO Power Centre has managed to attract major local and foreign retail giants such as Harvey Norman (70,000 sq ft), Popular Bookstore (31,000 sq ft), Cold Storage Supermarket (31,000 sq ft), Hytex Town (30,000 sq ft) and Pet Safari (30,000 sq ft).

Anchor tenants pay between RM3 and RM7 per sq ft plus a certain percentage of sales turnover, while smaller tenants pay about RM10 to RM18 per sq ft to IKANO.

Going forward, Lau did not discount the possibility of setting up IKEA stores in areas like Johor and Penang. He said: “We will look at it (the possibility) later. Let's see how we fare here first.”
Quote:
Originally Posted by TYW
Ikea's appeal

There was no sign of fatigue when City & Country caught up with Joseph Lau on an early Sept 1 morning at his office. That was after staying up till the wee hours for the street parade and fireworks display at the 47th Merdeka celebrations put up by Ikano Corp Sdn Bhd the night before.
The Merdeka party, which cost the Swedish group a cool RM1 million, had residents in the Klang Valley literally on their feet enjoying the colourful street party, hot air balloon rides and performances by popular local artistes, besides honouring 47 Merdeka "babies".
Ikano Corp owns both the Ikano Power Centre and Ikea Malaysia — both of which operate side by side in Selangor's Mutiara Damansara township.
But that was not the reason City & Country had called on Lau, executive director of Ikano Corp. It was the fact that Ikea Malaysia has been awarded the International Real Estate Federation (Fiabci) Malaysian Chapter Award of Distinction for best retail development in 2004.
Points were awarded to the development based on the preparatory phase of the project, development and construction phase, marketing and management, community benefits and environmental impact, customer satisfaction and the contribution in real estate. According to Award of Distinction evaluation chairman Yeoh Thit Sang, Ikea's customer-focused layout, the emphasis on the well-planned car park and the innovative construction methods used were among the award-winning features identified by the evaluation team.
Lau, who is also Ikea Malaysia general manager, of course, is pleased with the award, but he is quick to add that it was never the retailer's intention to participate in any such competition and that it had been invited to do so.
"We built Ikea not with pre-conceived ideas of how the building should appeal aesthetically but based on the attributes that would make our No 1 priority, the customer, comfortable."
Ikea features prominently on a 7.2-acre site, offering a built-up of about 360,000 sq ft, while the power centre (420,000 sq ft in built-up) sits on 5.9 acres.
Opened in August last year, the new Ikea Malaysia store is the largest in Asia. Before that, the retailer has been operating in 80,000 sq ft of space at 1-Utama Shopping Centre since 1996.
From a staff strength of 200 in its former premises, Ikea Malaysia now employs 410 full-time staff. In terms of turnover, Ikea Malaysia achieved about RM200 million in revenue for the year ended Aug 31, 2004, up 82% from the RM110 million in 2003.
Lau, who started his tenure in Ikea in August 1995, talks about Ikea's journey in Malaysia.

How it started
When Ikea Malaysia decided to open shop in I-Utama, Lau together with his then boss, Swede Mikael Franzen, realised the need for a full-sized store to feature the full-Ikea concept, one of the main themes of which revolve around "taking home what you need today".
"Because we were located in a shopping centre, there were restrictions in the way we were able to realise the total concept. We did not have the luxury of our own loading/unloading bays, and so most of the bigger items were stored in our warehouse in Port Klang. This meant that customers were not able to have the items they purchased on the day itself. They had to place their order and it would be delivered to them in a couple of days," he explains.
At that time, land values were high. The long search for an appropriate site ended in November 2000 when Ikea decided on a 13.1-acre freehold site within Mutiara Damansara — a stone's throw away from I-Utama. Ikano Corp paid RM56 million, or RM99 psf, for the tract.
In March 2002, physical construction of the blue and yellow building started and took only 12 months to be ready. In April last year, the interior build-up team set to work to create 54 showrooms and four "homes" within the main showroom area which occupies nearly 66,000 sq ft.
The cost of putting up the building totalled RM125 million, making this Ikea store the cheapest to build. This was made possible because Lau headed the in-house main contractor team to control quality, cost and timing.
Despite the quick construction period and low cost, no corners were cut, Lau stresses, adding that the quality of the building is "on par with the other Ikea stores in the world".
Some may frown at Ikea Malaysia's "stripped to the essential look" — with materials and finishes kept simple and raw. But the design is there for a valid purpose — the unpainted concrete and metal cladding demand low maintenance. At the same time, this method of construction is distinctively Swedish.
There is no point in a brilliantly designed building which is empty. Ikea scores in terms of location, Lau says.
"Looking at the Klang Valley, we believe the core market in terms of customer spending and household income is here within a half-hour-drive radius. Apart from the established neighbourhoods in the vicinity and the up-and-coming Mont'Kiara, Ara Damansara, Damansara Perdana and even Mutiara Damansara, it makes a lot of sense for us to be here," he stresses.

Concept and perception
Ikea has positioned itself as a home furnishing specialist that provides a wide range of well-designed, functional solutions at a low price, a feature that attracts families with a combined household income of RM2,000. Currently, it offers some 8,500 products.
While there is no denying that Ikea Malaysia has a strong following, there are some who consider its products upmarket buys while others see it as a budget brand.
Lau admits that dealing with customer perception is a challenge, but one that has proven to be less of an issue over the years. "Initially, there were those who had the impression that Ikea is a premium brand. To address this, we kept making it known that yes, while these are branded home furnishing items, they are offered at affordable prices.
"But since we moved into this new store, we have been able to offer a wider array of products and so the perception that Ikea is expensive has toned down considerably," he adds.
If the number of visitors is any benchmark of success, Ikea Malaysia should be pleased. Between August 2003 and August 2004, about 4.5 million visitors visited the store.

Building attributes
The Ikea building has been designed to be safe, convenient and comfortable, explains Lau. To illustrate this, he picks one of his favourite spots, the car park. (Ikea and Ikano Power Centre share a 2,200-bay car park.)
"Firstly, it is brightly lit. The carpark also has a clean and tidy appearance because of the floor finishing, where a special coat of paint is used over the cement render for this effect. And instead of the 8.5ft clearance height, ours is 9.3ft."
Back in the store, walkway aisles are 11.5ft wide for ease of shopping. Having to go through the 722ft length of the store can be time-consuming and tiring. To address this, glass doors have been placed at intermittent locations so that customers do not feel holed up. Other conveniences include clean toilets, a prayer room, a play area for children and disabled-friendly facilities. There is also a restaurant, two cafés and a Swedish speciality shop within Ikea.

Competition
Being physically big is one thing, but this is no guarantee that size will keep competition at bay, as Lau is quick to admit.
"Be it departmental stores, hypermarkets, specialised stores or kedai perabot in small neighbourhoods, competition is everywhere. But we believe in Ikea and this makes us strive to be consistently ahead. How do we intend to do this? It is a trade secret that I cannot reveal," he laughs.
On a more serious note, Lau says: "Something we'll always do is to come up with our catalogues. Hot from the press are 180 million copies that are now available in Ikea stores worldwide for the year starting Sept 1, 2004, to Aug 31, 2005."
While five years ago there were six versions of the catalogues to serve the different locations worldwide, now there are just two — one version is distributed to the US and Europe and the other is for all the other Ikea locations in the world.
Lau declines to reveal too much about Ikea's future plans, except that there is potential for another store in the Klang Valley and one each in Penang and Johor Baru. "But the decision on which is priority will not be made until further studies are done. It should be known by the end of this year," he adds.

Ikano Power Centre
In most other locations worldwide, it is common to find shopping centres close to Ikea stores, but here in Malaysia, Ikano Power Centre complements the Ikea attraction. The power centre, which is 99% leased out, has become a hub for category killer-type retailers (major anchor tenants), where 12 of the 81 outlets located here are of this nature. These include the likes of Ikea itself, Padini, Ace Hardware and Harvey Norman
"Wherever Ikea is located, the store becomes the main driver that sets the stage for that particular location to become a retail hub. The branding creates value and attraction," Lau enthuses.
Even Boustead Properties Bhd, the developer of Mutiara Damansara, is proud to be associated with Ikea. "Our relationship with Ikea is complementary in nature. Ikea is an icon known around the world and their presence in Mutiara Damansara fits in with our vision of making this 355-acre development a world-class one. Ikea is one of the many pieces of the jigsaw puzzle falling into place," says Boustead director Datuk Ghazali Mohd Ali.
Self-made Ingvar Kamprad, 77, the founder of the home furnishing concept store, is one of the world's richest men. By end-2004, there will be 208 Ikea stores worldwide.
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THE CITY OF GEORGE TOWN, PENANG (1ST JANUARY 1957)

"the said Municipality of George Town shall on the First Day of January in the Year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and fifty seven and forever thereafter be a city and shall be called and styled the CITY OF GEORGE TOWN instead of the Municipality of George Town and shall thenceforth have all such rank, liberties, privileges and immunities as are incident to a city." - Queen Elizabeth II
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Old April 22nd, 2005, 11:25 AM   #56
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Renovations @ Gurney Plaza
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Originally Posted by TYW
lots of shops are being upgraded at Gurney Plaza

this pic is taken from its Gurney Drive entrance
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"the said Municipality of George Town shall on the First Day of January in the Year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and fifty seven and forever thereafter be a city and shall be called and styled the CITY OF GEORGE TOWN instead of the Municipality of George Town and shall thenceforth have all such rank, liberties, privileges and immunities as are incident to a city." - Queen Elizabeth II
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Old April 22nd, 2005, 11:27 AM   #57
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1 Stop Midlands Park, Burmah Road entrance
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"the said Municipality of George Town shall on the First Day of January in the Year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and fifty seven and forever thereafter be a city and shall be called and styled the CITY OF GEORGE TOWN instead of the Municipality of George Town and shall thenceforth have all such rank, liberties, privileges and immunities as are incident to a city." - Queen Elizabeth II
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Old April 22nd, 2005, 11:28 AM   #58
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Back entrance
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"the said Municipality of George Town shall on the First Day of January in the Year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and fifty seven and forever thereafter be a city and shall be called and styled the CITY OF GEORGE TOWN instead of the Municipality of George Town and shall thenceforth have all such rank, liberties, privileges and immunities as are incident to a city." - Queen Elizabeth II
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Old April 22nd, 2005, 11:30 AM   #59
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disappointed.......

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"the said Municipality of George Town shall on the First Day of January in the Year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and fifty seven and forever thereafter be a city and shall be called and styled the CITY OF GEORGE TOWN instead of the Municipality of George Town and shall thenceforth have all such rank, liberties, privileges and immunities as are incident to a city." - Queen Elizabeth II
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Old April 22nd, 2005, 11:33 AM   #60
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How old is this mall?
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