I made a special trip down to Bugis Junction yesterday as I’d read (on Facebook) that it was the final day of operations for 77th Street. Quite shocking, isn’t it? This brand has been around since my schooldays. According to this Straits Times interview, Elim Chew has already moved on and is now managing a logistics business. There is just one 77th Street’s outlet left, at Ang Mo Kio, though I suspect it’ll be closed soon too.
If you’re wondering, I didn’t buy anything at 77th Street yesterday, though I did walk through the store. The items are admittedly much pricier than what we can find online (a point which Elim herself has shared in the interview). It is no wonder that retail stores are closing down because e-commerce has truly disrupted the retail industry.
I’m not sure how the mall’s management team is handling this shakeup. It seemed to me that the other shops near 77th Street at level 3 of Bugis Junction were also having their ‘closing down sales’ too.
I got a bit confused at this particular shop:
It has all the signs to suggest that they are moving out. However, when I was within the store, I noted that (1) there’s a lady restocking shelves with A LOT of new products and (2) the other items were not being sold at huge discounts (yet). So I didn’t buy anything here either.
As for the other Hello Kitty shop next door, things were different…
I was told that this store will be shut sometime next month. However, many items were on sale at up to 50% off their usual price. Bought 3 kitty items here. I couldn’t resist. (@_@)
I wonder if we should be worried. Is this simply a transitional phase or does it signal that tough times are ahead? Many articles have been written about how Orchard Road is suffering from the exodus of tenants and how fewer people are shopping there now. But it’s not just Orchard. And this problem isn’t new. Far East Plaza, which was really popular among youths during my time (gosh I feel so old) is really quite deserted now, and it has been this way for some time. I popped by this afternoon and there were so many shops shuttered and plastered with “for lease” signages. I don’t think there will be a flood of new tenants anytime soon though.
Will malls of the future only have F&B outlets, cinemas, and services (nails, hair, etc)? Perhaps we won’t even have supermarkets anymore, as people shop for their groceries online. Will “window shopping” be about closing one browser window and moving on to the next online store? Hmm…