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Shoppers gather before moving inside the Aeon centre during yesterday’s opening.
Shoppers gather before moving inside the Aeon centre during yesterday’s opening. CHRIS TAYLOR

It’s party time at mega-mall

Thousands flock for a new shopping experience as Aeon breaks new ground

The invite-only soft opening of Cambodia’s first modern mega-mall turned into an open-door party. Guards welcomed all and sundry in their thousands yesterday with smiles and open arms.

The 68,000-square-metre Aeon Mall on Sothearos Boulevard will have an opening sale running 28-30 June 2014, with an opening ceremony on the morning of 30 June that Prime Minister Hun Sen is scheduled to attend.

Reportedly built at a cost of $205 million, the three-storey mall breaks new ground for Cambodia’s retail sector. There are about 150 brand-name stores, many of which will be familiar to Phnom Penh expatriates, including Levi’s and Clark’s. There is also a third-floor cineplex and a food court with a broad range of international cuisines.

“The shape of our mall is in a ‘Two Anchors with one Mall’ format, which consists of two or more large-scale anchor stores connected with a mall area occupied by specialty stores,” Makato Yajima, the managing director at Aeon, told the Post Weekend's sister publication, the Phnom Penh Post in June last year.

Japan’s Aeon has become Asia’s biggest retailer since entering the mall market in 1989. The company has subsequently expanded, building shopping centres across the region, including in Vietnam and Malaysia.

At the Phnom Penh version, the parking space alone can accommodate 1,400 cars. Yajima hopes Aeon will change Cambodians’ perception of shopping. “We came to Cambodia to provide a service to the people,” Yajima said to The Phnom Penh Post in February last year.

Aeon is planning to build an additional five malls in Phnom Penh and other major Cambodian cities. “Even though we might have a second or third project, we [are giving] everything to this project,” Yajima told The Phnom Penh Post last year.

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