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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Mall shoppers will need some 'escalator education'

Mall shoppers will need some 'escalator education'

A blue-domed building under construction in central Phnom Penh is set to change not

only the city's skyline, but also the shopping habits of traders and buyers.

For many Cambodians the five-story Sorya Shopping Center will provide them with their

first experience of a large shopping mall. Advisor to the project, M. K. Ng, said

with that in mind, the developers had decided on a few necessities not commonly seen

elsewhere.

For its first year, he said, instructors would be on hand to demonstrate shopping

mall etiquette, particularly with regard to the building's ten escalators and seven

elevators.

"People might have accidents on the escalators if they don't have instructors,"

said Ng, adding that the center would not have revolving doors "as children

would play in them".

The 36,000 square meter center is slated to open by September and will have more

than 800 shops. Features will include central air-conditioning and a parking garage

for 425 vehicles. The blue dome will have a walkway offering a unique vista of the

city.

Ng also hopes it will lure vendors from the adjacent Central Market and the more

distant Olympic Market.

"I believe merchants would like to upgrade to better facilities," said

Ng, adding that vendors at traditional markets were at a disadvantage as they needed

to sell their goods quickly since customers seldom hung around.

That combined with the fact that a wholesaler might be only three stalls away often

meant little profit came their way. Sorya would have no wholesalers, he said, giving

traders more freedom in their bargaining.

He was also optimistic that the center would prove the first step in changing what

is a traditional and unprofitable policy of Cambodian merchants: losing money on

the first sale of the day for good luck.

"We would like to re-educate merchants one by one to let them know that fixed

prices are a very good thing," said Ng.

Another innovation will see lockers for vendors, saving them the hassle of dragging

their wares to and from market stalls, "an especially good idea for gold merchants".

The mall's owner, Shopping Center Sorya Ltd., has a 70-year land lease from the government.

A supermarket, restaurants, family entertainment, brand name shops and a food court

are all planned. Financing came from venture capital provided by Canadia Bank, said

Ng, although he would not reveal the cost nor the identities of the company's owners.

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