[B][SIZE="5"]IMM mall undergoing $30m renovation[/SIZE][/B]

[B]Outlet stores selling brand-name items at discount will rise from 15 to 40-50[/B]

Published on Sep 06, 2012

By Amanda Tan

THE IMM mall in Jurong is undergoing a $30 million year-long renovation that will turn it into Singapore's largest outlet centre, where brand-name items can be had at a discount.

The works, including reconfiguring units, started in May and are being carried out in phases so shoppers can still patronise it. It is expected to be completed by the middle of next year.

It will eventually host 40 to 50 of what are termed "outlet stores" from the 15 now. These shops sell items from popular brands for less and typically carry past-season items at lower prices.

New brands coming on board include Billabong, adidas, Converse, ECCO, City Chain and Premier Football Outlet. These are in addition to the current ones such as Esprit, Timberland, Picket & Rail and Samsonite.

The 20-year-old mall's anchor tenants include Giant, Daiso and Best Denki, which have been there for several years. There will also be some non-outlet stores.

The upgraded mall will offer plenty of choice to Jurong East residents, what with the new JCube mall nearby and the upcoming Jem and Westgate centres. It is also across the road from the Ng Teng Fong General Hospital, which is under construction.

IMM general manager Callie Yah told The Straits Times yesterday: "The re-positioning of IMM complements the other CapitaMalls shopping malls in Jurong."

CapitaMalls Asia manages IMM, JCube, which focuses on entertainment and caters to the younger set with its ice-skating rink, and the upcoming family and lifestyle Westgate mall.

People looking for home and furnishing shops - these have been major tenants at the mall for years - will still find the 50 or so stores in the existing section called "I'MM Home".

The mall earlier undertook a $92.5 million revamp that was completed in 2007. This involved adding a retail block and rooftop landscaped plaza, among other things.

Property experts said the refurbished IMM will add to the diverse mix of properties in the Jurong Lake District, which is envisioned to be the biggest commercial hub outside the city centre with homes, hotels, shops and offices.

Such a concept has potential to succeed, said SLP International head of research Nicholas Mak, but it must offer rents 20 to 25 per cent lower than those at nearby malls like Jem.

Mr Mak said this is because the stores will be selling off-season stock that is cheaper and may take a while to move, and such shops also often require a large space.

"For it to work you need the space, the number of stores and the size of each. The mall must offer a variety of products and the tenant mix must be right," he added.

It will be a "destination mall", where people visit for a specific reason, Mr Mak noted. Square Foot Research director Ooi Yi Tung said the mall's unique position can be a benefit.

"CapitaMalls, which manages several malls in the area, has an advantage as they can use product differentiation to minimise cannibalisation and increase overall income."

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