Sim Lim Square sees dwindling sales

Back in its heyday a decade ago, computer software retailer Software Discount Store would see waves of people streaming in and out of its shop at Sim Lim Square.

Today, shoppers are so few and far between that shopkeeper Albert Choo can watch his TV drama at the store for hours uninterrupted.

Mr Choo, 58, told The New Paper: "Human traffic is very slow now."

In the 12 years that he has been at Sim Lim Square, "business has never been this bad," he said.

Such is the plight of many shops at Sim Lim Square and People's Park Complex. The reputation of both malls has taken a big hit following a spate of incidents involving errant retailers last November.

Among them was Jover Chew Chiew Loon, the owner of the now-defunct Mobile Air who was charged in court yesterday.

But although the going has not been too good for retailers at Sim Lim Square and People's Park Complex, shoppers' impressions may be changing. Recent figures from the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) suggest that things are on the mend for the malls.

Mr Seah Seng Choon, Case's executive director, told TNP: "Consumer complaints against retailers at both malls received by Case from February to April this year were few and isolated."

This is a far cry from the 106 complaints Case received against retailers in Sim Lim Square and the 156 complaints - the highest for a mall here - filed against shops in People's Park Complex between January and November last year.

But retailers TNP spoke to on Thursday said the low numbers are more indicative of declining business than improved customer satisfaction.

Mr Choo said: "Sales are down after what happened last year. After paying the rent, there's not much left."

Mr Amal Roy, 48, who runs computer repair shop Trade Techniques at Sim Lim Square, agreed.

"I've been here for 16 years and business this year is definitely the worst. I can only count on loyal customers these days."


Mr Sean Chia, a spokesman for Sim Lim Square, said: "The feedback I've received from tenants is that footfall is slowing.

"Sales are also down by around 60 per cent."

Retailers at People's Park Complex are also affected.

A saleswoman at Million Cosmetics, who wanted to be known only as Miss Tan, 50, estimated that business has gone down by at least 50 per cent compared to last year.

"We depend a lot on tourists, but they're not coming here anymore after all the bad publicity," she said.

A worker from Robann, a bags and accessories shop, who wanted to be known only as Miss Liu, said in Mandarin: "There used to be so many tourists, but now, the walkways are so empty that you can play bowling here.

"With all the blacklisted tenants, it's an inside joke that this place (which is known as Pearl's Centre in Mandarin) should now be called Black Pearl."

This article was first published on May 30, 2015.
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