New, hip stores in old malls

New, hip stores in old malls
Owners Kyra Ching (above) and Loh Hsiao Ying opened vintage store Granny’s Day Out at Peninsula Shopping Centre in 2004.

SINGAPORE - Instead of glitzy shopping centres or trendy neighbourhoods, some hip stores have chosen to go off the beaten path and set up shop in malls that have seen better days.

Drawn by the low rentals and unique character of the malls, these newcomers have made their home in the past two years in ageing shopping complexes such as Bukit Timah Plaza, Beauty World Centre and Peninsula Shopping Centre.

For example, indie stationery shop Small And Able opened at Peninsula Shopping Centre two months ago. The mall, set up in the 1970s, is known for its guitar, camera and tailoring shops.

Small And Able's owner, Ms Chin Siew Hoon, 31, says: "I don't want to be in a new mall where the rent is high. It is also too mass-market."

Rental costs in old shopping malls can be almost half of those in new malls, says Ms Edith Tay, director of real estate company PropertyBank, which specialises in commercial properties.

In general, there are strata owners in older malls who charge between $7.50 and $15 per sq ft per month, depending on the location, size and floor level of the units.

Newer malls in town can charge between $15 and $50 psf per month, while rents at more popular suburban malls can be between $12 and $30 psf per month, also depending on the location, size and floor level of the units.

These malls may also take a small cut from their tenants' revenue.

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