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Aeon Mall continues to satisfy consumers shopping needs three years after opening. More malls are set to be built in Phnom Penh in the coming years. Post staff

Increased consumerism points to demand for more malls

The demand for shopping precincts has risen three percent in this year’s first quarter when compared to the same time last year, a study by Bonna Realty Group has shown.

The recently concluded study noted that the trend of shopping at malls has increased from 79 percent in Q1 of 2016 to 82 percent at the end the first quarter of 2017. However, vacant space in malls – both completed and under construction – yet to be snapped up by tenants has escalated from 21 percent to 26 percent, while supply continues to rise.

Segmented into A, B and C grades – with grade A encompassing larger malls like Aeon and the upcoming Parkson Mall – the study found that there are currently 34 malls in Phnom Penh, with category A and B developments comprising a majority of this number.

Pen Sokea, Bonna Realty’s director of evaluation, said, “The higher demand for more malls is due to several factors. These include the increase in population and disposable income, the convenience of shopping, as well as the loan interest-lowering policy of microfinance institutions.”

Most notably, he added, “The loan interest-lowering policy released by the government can help ease the people’s expense, and the convenience of instalment purchases is also sharing the influence on this demand.”

Chor Sang, CEO of Ratana Plaza Shopping Mall, said that consumer demand has shown a small, but steady, incline since the start of the year. Simultaneously, the total demand from consumers has peaked at the current 95 percent, largely thanks to the influx of people making up the increase of Phnom Penh’s population.

“The purchasing traffic will remain stable or even go up because the best-selling things in most malls are food and entertainment services,” Sang said.

Thida Ann, director of CBRE Cambodia, commented that Cambodians’ way of shopping has greatly been influenced and globalised since the establishment of Aeon Mall back in 2014.

This year will see the opening of two more mall projects – Exchange Square and Parkson Mall along Russian Boulevard.

“Because of increasing demand, the Exchange Square mall will be operational in June, and this will be another international standard mall in Phnom Penh,” Ann said.

Exchange Square, which functions more as an office tower – with 16 levels of office space – has four dedicated levels for luxury retail shops and a cinema. Initially slated to be opened at the end of last year, it will now be getting ready for its launch next month. Ahead of its opening, according to Ann, 65 percent of the retail sphere has been leased, and 55 percent of office space has been rented out.

Comparing the state of consumerism in Cambodia and neighbouring countries, Ann said, “Cambodia still needs more malls because the number of malls in Phnom Penh is still very low if compared to Thailand.”

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