Victoria's Secret to open first flagship store here
VICTORIA'S Secret will open its first South-east Asia flagship store in Singapore by year end and unveil a full assortment of its sexy wares.
The international lingerie brand will open the 12,000 sq ft outlet in the fourth quarter of the year at Mandarin Gallery in Orchard Road.
The two-storey store, which faces the street, will take over the units that Mont Blanc, Bimba Y Lola and Bathing Ape used to occupy.
These brands will be moving to other areas in the four-storey mall. The concierge counter on level two was also relocated to level three to accommodate the largest American retailer of women's lingerie.
The nine existing Victoria's Secret stores here are all the brand's beauty and accessories stores. They sell fragrances, accessories like bags and only a small range of women's underwear.
Patrina Tan, senior vice-president of retail, marketing and leasing at Overseas Union Enterprises, which manages Mandarin Gallery, said that the hoarding on the mall went up last week.
"Mandarin Gallery has always been known to be a mall that houses the best of the best in retail and food. We have the king of ramen, the king of ribs. So naturally, Victoria's Secret echoes and reinforces what the mall stands for," she said.
There are plans for the brand to hold fashion shows here on top of other events, she said. "It is a long-awaited brand that has never been available in this part of the world."
The Straits Times understands that prices at the store here will differ from those elsewhere as they will be based on domestic variables like taxes and profit margins.
Its product range will be identical to that offered in stores in the United States and will not be tailored to the local market.
Victoria's Secret is one of several global brands that have chosen to set up shop here recently.
A recent ranking by property adviser CBRE showed Singapore was second only to Tokyo in retail, having attracted 58 new retail brands in 2014, just shy of Tokyo's 63.
French sporting goods store Decathlon will open a 35,000 sq ft store in Chai Chee Technopark next week; popular French women's wear label Maje opened its first flagship store at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands in October; Singapore's first Apple store will open next year; and the renowned Dover Street Market will soon make its debut here.
Experts said that international retailers, faced with economic challenges in developed markets, are looking to emerging markets such as South-east Asia.
"Singapore is seen as an ideal test bed for brands looking to break into South-east Asian markets and is viewed as an important place to build brand awareness," said Sarah Lim, Singapore Polytechnic's senior retail lecturer. "Customers in countries in the region will identify with the brand when it moves over to their countries."
She said that Victoria's Secret will up the ante in the retail scene here: "They don't just sell products, but strengthen their brand with fashion shows and experiential shopping. Other brands can learn from them."
Shoppers like Gina Farr, 32, are excited.
The fitness trainer is a fan of the brand's underwear and owns several pairs that she bought from the smaller stores here.
"The quality is great, and there will be a wider range including bras. The range of items they have here now is too small," she said. "I would probably shop there quite often when it opens."