Already we have so many Malls (Some locations have a few side by side) here in SG, yet more are coming up. Is this some sort of a bubble happening or is our economy just prospering? - Seedly

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Asked by Dorian Manrique

Asked on 28 May 2019

Already we have so many Malls (Some locations have a few side by side) here in SG, yet more are coming up. Is this some sort of a bubble happening or is our economy just prospering?

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Kenneth Lou
Kenneth Lou, Co-founder at Seedly

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Level 8. Wizard
Updated on 07 Jun 2019

This is actually a pretty interesting question! Especially the idea on whether this is a bubble or not.

I’m personally really curious about this topic as well due to my interest in REITs, and Retail REITs to be specific. (personally pretty heavily vested)

Another reason is because I love shopping and eating at these malls and great to see how the malls are doing, whether it’s bustling or a dead town.

And in fact, you’ve brought up a very good point. With more and newer shopping malls like Jewel Changi spouting up, you will probably wonder who are filling up these malls. In the past 5 years, most analysts predicted the rise of eCommerce as a threat to the retail malls in Singapore, however, that was not to be the case.

In summary, some factors I would consider when it comes to understanding whether the trend for retail:

  • Singapore consumer spending growth is also growing very strong with double digit % yearly
  • Singapore population growth is still going strong (when you count both local and foreign PR and expats)
  • A good mix of malls spread out in urban or sub-urban areas
  • The unique thing is that certain malls cover the Central area (eg Ion Orchard etc) and others cover the heartland areas (Northpoint Yishun etc)
  • And each of those serve different target groups (locals and/or tourists)
  • Most malls are built to focus on accessibility, built near MRT stations
  • Others are focused on the heartland hub concept (eg Jurong East hub and Tampines hub being the two prominent ones) to uniquely separate themselves from each other
  • During the 2008/09 recession period, in fact the consumer spending during those two years did not

If you are keen to read on more, I have a few facts here which you can dissect.

Fact 1: A rising of consumer spending in Singapore

Source: TradingEconomics, numbers are in SGD Million

“Consumer Spending in Singapore increased to 43858.50 SGD Million in the first quarter of 2019 from 43647.60 SGD Million in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Fact 2: A growing Singapore population

Source: SingStat.gov.sg

“Total population growth in 2018 was 0.5% (compared to 0.1% in the previous year). Resident growth has remained stable since 2012.”

If you combine the two facts together, you get a population with rising affluence and spending more money over a period of time.

The main threat of Retail REITs in Singapore:

In fact, I was at the recent CMT (CapitaMall Trust) AGM 2019 and the RWS AGM so I have found some trends which I will share more below.

And it was mentioned by the CEO of CMT, Tony Tan (familiar name, I know), that the real threat of Retail REITs in Singapore is over-crowding of shopping malls and choices fighting for the consumer dollar spend, rather than the threat of eCommerce.

Curious to know what malls do these REITs own?

The older two are CMT and FCT, which are the two main retail REITs in town, with others like Lendlease which just IPO-ed.

CapitaMall Trust (CMT)

  • Bedok Mall
  • Bugis Junction
  • Bugis+
  • Bukit Panjang Plaza
  • Clarke Quay
  • Funan (NEW revamped mall)
  • IMM
  • ION Orchard
  • JCube
  • Jewel Changi Airport
  • Junction 8
  • Lot One Shoppers Mall
  • Plaza Singapura
  • Raffles City Shopping Center
  • SingPost Center
  • Tampines Mall
  • The Atrium @Orchard
  • The Star Vista
  • WestGate

Frasers Centerpoint Trust (FCT)

  • Anchorpoint
  • Causeway Point
  • Changi City Point
  • Northpoint
  • YewTee Point
  • Bedok Point

Lendlease Trust (NEW)

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Dorian Manrique
Dorian Manrique

30 May 2019

167?! 😲 We are basically living and breathing in Malls😂
Kenneth Lou
Kenneth Lou

30 May 2019

Pretty much! Growing very quickly as well... haha