The Spring Mall: Lifestyle shopping in Kuching

Reading Time: 4 minutes
CHRISTINELING
Christine Ling, General Manager of The Spring Shopping Mall Kuching

Located at Jalan Simpang Tiga between Kuching city center and the international airport, the The Spring Shopping Mall opened to the public in January 2008 and since has established itself as the best lifestyle shopping mall of Sarawak’s capital. Inside Investor asked General Manager Christine Ling how this unique idea evolved and what challenges and opportunities did come along with the mall’s development.

Q: The Spring Shopping Mall has a very good standing within Kuching’s shopping scene. Is there room for expansion?

A: Actually, we are looking at every possibility for expansion. The population in Kuching is about 600,000 and growing. We have a waiting list of retailers despite having 415,000 square feet of lettable space, so there is indeed room for expansion.

Q: What makes The Spring Shopping Mall more attractive than other malls?

A:  There are so many elements to getting a shopping mall experience right.  First of all, location is key, and the mall is located at the densest neighbourhood with two thirds of the cities population within a 15 minute drive time.  The whole mall was also designed with shopper comfort in mind.  We also focus very much on the right tenant mix, and spend a great of effort on creating events and ambiance that drive the right shoppers to the mall.

Q: Is the Boulevard Mall a major competitor?

A: I think it targets different type of shoppers. We are complementary to each other. The Kuching market is diverse enough to cater for a range of shopping experiences.

Q: What do you think drives people to prefer shopping at The Spring Shopping Mall?

A: The mall is designed and developed for shopper comfort.  Before the mall was built, we embarked on an extensive demographic study of Kuching where we analysed our market based on income, age, shopping habits etc.  With the results of the study, we were able to tailor the mall to its market.  From the mix of tenants right down to sight lines and corridor widths, were all planned specifically for market needs, and in our case, a large bulk of the market are middle class families.  One of the many ways we customise the shopping experience at The Spring Shopping Mall is by providing free wheelchair and power riders for the older generation, and strollers for babies.  The tenants we brought to the mall are specifically quality family oriented brands that are new to this market.

Spring Mall Kuching
The Spring Shopping Mall Kuching

A: Yes, we are. The mall is always evolving as consumer preferences change, and shoppers are looking for the next new thing. The mall’s mantra is “delivering fresh shopping experiences through retail innovations” and we constantly work on that.

Q: Are there any areas outside Sarawak you may be interested to expand to?

A:  We are concentrating on what we do best and that is The Spring Shopping Mall in Kuching.  But we are looking at venturing into other cities in Sarawak, and if opportunities arise anywhere else, we will explore it.

Q: How do you think the client demography in Kuching has changed over the past five years?

A: It is actually developing largely the way we expected.  The market is getting more discerning and veering towards more lifestyle centric products versus purely value for money in the past. We always had been targeting the young upper middle class, because the population of Kuching is very young and has a strong spending power according to our market research.  the average household income in Kuching is among the highest in Malaysia.

Q: What are the challenges The Spring Shopping Mall will face in the coming years?

A: With globalisation and the rise of social media, consumer behavior is evolving rapidly.  Shoppers are more well-travelled and exposed to more retail choices than ever!  Therefore brand consciousness is a key desire for the next generation of shoppers, and it forces The Spring to constantly improve its tenant mix to stay fresh all the time.

Q: It has been quite brave to build this unique mall in Kuching. What were the drivers behind this idea?

A: Actually all credit goes to my father.  I grew up in Christchurch, New Zealand which is a similar sized city to Kuching.  My father was inspired by the Westfield shopping malls in New Zealand.  That lightbulb moment lead to seeking out the leading shopping mall architect- Warren Mahoney, and the leading retail consultant in Malaysia, CBRE, and to a series of market studies which proved that this could be a viable business venture.  It was definitely a risk because there had never been a non-strata shopping mall of this scale built before, but it was a very calculated risk.

Q: How do you attract international premium brands to The Spring Shooping Mall? And what type of other tenants are you looking for?

A: The first concern of the mall management is unique brands. We usually attract good tenants through our marketing promotions and branding strategies. Further, we work together with leasing consultants from Kuala Lumpur and Singapore to promote the mall. Basically, we bring  in the right amount of local and international fashion tenants, as well as food and beverage tenants To create the right mix of lifestyle experiences for our shoppers.

Q: What would be your message to our readers?

A: Sarawak is a hidden gem that is still largely untapped. We have good infrastructure, natural resources and a stable government to support investment ventures.  And judging by the high sales growth The Spring has enjoyed for the last 5 years, the retail scene is Sarawak has been starved and is hungry for new lifestyle brands.

 

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Reading Time: 4 minutes

Christine Ling, General Manager of The Spring Shopping Mall Kuching

Located at Jalan Simpang Tiga between Kuching city center and the international airport, the The Spring Shopping Mall opened to the public in January 2008 and since has established itself as the best lifestyle shopping mall of Sarawak’s capital. Inside Investor asked General Manager Christine Ling how this unique idea evolved and what challenges and opportunities did come along with the mall’s development.

Reading Time: 4 minutes

CHRISTINELING
Christine Ling, General Manager of The Spring Shopping Mall Kuching

Located at Jalan Simpang Tiga between Kuching city center and the international airport, the The Spring Shopping Mall opened to the public in January 2008 and since has established itself as the best lifestyle shopping mall of Sarawak’s capital. Inside Investor asked General Manager Christine Ling how this unique idea evolved and what challenges and opportunities did come along with the mall’s development.

Q: The Spring Shopping Mall has a very good standing within Kuching’s shopping scene. Is there room for expansion?

A: Actually, we are looking at every possibility for expansion. The population in Kuching is about 600,000 and growing. We have a waiting list of retailers despite having 415,000 square feet of lettable space, so there is indeed room for expansion.

Q: What makes The Spring Shopping Mall more attractive than other malls?

A:  There are so many elements to getting a shopping mall experience right.  First of all, location is key, and the mall is located at the densest neighbourhood with two thirds of the cities population within a 15 minute drive time.  The whole mall was also designed with shopper comfort in mind.  We also focus very much on the right tenant mix, and spend a great of effort on creating events and ambiance that drive the right shoppers to the mall.

Q: Is the Boulevard Mall a major competitor?

A: I think it targets different type of shoppers. We are complementary to each other. The Kuching market is diverse enough to cater for a range of shopping experiences.

Q: What do you think drives people to prefer shopping at The Spring Shopping Mall?

A: The mall is designed and developed for shopper comfort.  Before the mall was built, we embarked on an extensive demographic study of Kuching where we analysed our market based on income, age, shopping habits etc.  With the results of the study, we were able to tailor the mall to its market.  From the mix of tenants right down to sight lines and corridor widths, were all planned specifically for market needs, and in our case, a large bulk of the market are middle class families.  One of the many ways we customise the shopping experience at The Spring Shopping Mall is by providing free wheelchair and power riders for the older generation, and strollers for babies.  The tenants we brought to the mall are specifically quality family oriented brands that are new to this market.

Spring Mall Kuching
The Spring Shopping Mall Kuching

A: Yes, we are. The mall is always evolving as consumer preferences change, and shoppers are looking for the next new thing. The mall’s mantra is “delivering fresh shopping experiences through retail innovations” and we constantly work on that.

Q: Are there any areas outside Sarawak you may be interested to expand to?

A:  We are concentrating on what we do best and that is The Spring Shopping Mall in Kuching.  But we are looking at venturing into other cities in Sarawak, and if opportunities arise anywhere else, we will explore it.

Q: How do you think the client demography in Kuching has changed over the past five years?

A: It is actually developing largely the way we expected.  The market is getting more discerning and veering towards more lifestyle centric products versus purely value for money in the past. We always had been targeting the young upper middle class, because the population of Kuching is very young and has a strong spending power according to our market research.  the average household income in Kuching is among the highest in Malaysia.

Q: What are the challenges The Spring Shopping Mall will face in the coming years?

A: With globalisation and the rise of social media, consumer behavior is evolving rapidly.  Shoppers are more well-travelled and exposed to more retail choices than ever!  Therefore brand consciousness is a key desire for the next generation of shoppers, and it forces The Spring to constantly improve its tenant mix to stay fresh all the time.

Q: It has been quite brave to build this unique mall in Kuching. What were the drivers behind this idea?

A: Actually all credit goes to my father.  I grew up in Christchurch, New Zealand which is a similar sized city to Kuching.  My father was inspired by the Westfield shopping malls in New Zealand.  That lightbulb moment lead to seeking out the leading shopping mall architect- Warren Mahoney, and the leading retail consultant in Malaysia, CBRE, and to a series of market studies which proved that this could be a viable business venture.  It was definitely a risk because there had never been a non-strata shopping mall of this scale built before, but it was a very calculated risk.

Q: How do you attract international premium brands to The Spring Shooping Mall? And what type of other tenants are you looking for?

A: The first concern of the mall management is unique brands. We usually attract good tenants through our marketing promotions and branding strategies. Further, we work together with leasing consultants from Kuala Lumpur and Singapore to promote the mall. Basically, we bring  in the right amount of local and international fashion tenants, as well as food and beverage tenants To create the right mix of lifestyle experiences for our shoppers.

Q: What would be your message to our readers?

A: Sarawak is a hidden gem that is still largely untapped. We have good infrastructure, natural resources and a stable government to support investment ventures.  And judging by the high sales growth The Spring has enjoyed for the last 5 years, the retail scene is Sarawak has been starved and is hungry for new lifestyle brands.

 

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