Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Sorya Shopping Center to get $5 million makeover

Sorya Shopping Center to get $5 million makeover

Sorya Shopping Center near Central Market. Within this year the mall will be readied for international brands.
Sorya Shopping Center near Central Market. Within this year the mall will be readied for international brands. Hong Menea

Sorya Shopping Center to get $5 million makeover

When Sorya Shopping Center announced its planned $5 million investment earlier this week, investors hailed the opportunity to boost the retail business through the planned renovations.

Real estate experts have applauded the news of the mall’s upgrade plans, which will see it re-named to Sorya Center Point, with the overhaul being introduced as a way to raise the bar to higher standards to accommodate international brands.

Earlier this week, Charles Vann, executive vice president of Canadia Bank which owns the mall, told Post Property that renovations would start next month and finish at the end of the year.

Vann said that while there will be interior re-adjustments, the mall will maintain its basic structure.

“[The new] Sorya Shopping Center will provide a totally new experience and atmosphere filled with much convenience, as well as quality products with reasonable price,” he said.

The mall’s facelift will host new international and domestic retail brands offering jewellery, cosmetics, apparel and shoes for women, men and children, and electronics. There will also be banks, and room for recreational offerings such as playgrounds, gyms, a spa centre, a cinema, and food and beverage outlets.

While the concept of improved product quality and shopping convenience has come about due to changing market conditions, Vann said the rebranding move forms part of the government’s plan to boost tourism services.

“The [investment] will contribute to the Cambodian government’s plan to improve the booming tourism industry in the Kingdom. Thus, a new form of international standardized shopping centre must be available to provide services and fulfil the demand of inflowing tourists.”

Dubbed the ‘indoor Central Market’ by some, the Sorya Shopping Centre’s location calls for investment in higher retail standards to attract tourists, which Ross Wheble, country manager for Knight Frank confirmed.

“Sorya Center Point is in a prime, central location just a stone’s throw from Central Market, one of Phnom Penh’s most popular tourist attractions,” Wheble said.

“With its refurbishment and repositioning, the mall will certainly be able to capture a larger share of the tourist market in Phnom Penh which will appeal to higher-end retailers,” Wheble said, noting that the entrance of Aeon Mall in June 2014 set a new retail benchmark for the Kingdom.

“The rebranding of the [Sorya] mall shows the vision and willingness of the landlord to adapt to the rapidly changing retail landscape in Phnom Penh,” he said.

According to Daniel Li, group CEO of Cambo-Sia International Co. Ltd., the country’s retail landscape has already been rapidly changing and Sorya Shopping Center was keen to compete with the higher standard of mall developments.

“Cambodia is changing quite rapidly,” he said.

“The location [of Sorya] is excellent. They can do a lot more in terms of attracting better brands and even getting better rental returns for the shareholders,” he said.

“I am convinced that Sorya is aware of the demands of [international brand tenants] and if they are serious in attracting official merchandise, they will need to do the needful.”

Li, who owns the exclusive distribution license for Hello Kitty merchandise – among other brands – which is offered at Aeon Mall, knows the requirements that malls need to set to attract international retail brands.

According to Li, most retail franchisers demand absolute certainty that no counterfeit brand items are sold in the same retail property where their licensed goods are also being sold at.

With many retail outlets looking to launch in the coming years, Li also said retail operators need to work together to protect their intellectual property within the vicinity.

Meanwhile, Li, who has seen an artist’s impression of what the new mall will look like following the revamp, is doubtful whether some of the lower-end retailers will fit the mall’s new look.

“Part of the revamp will be removing a majority of these [current] tenants because I think quite a number of them have their lease expiring, so they will not be renewing,” he said.

Yesterday, a 40-year old footwear seller operating in Sorya Shopping Center said she was taken aback by the announcement of renovation plans.

“That’s why the owner of the mall refused to renew our contract after two years,” she said, and added that she was hopeful that the mall will attract more customers after the renovation, while keeping to the current leasing prices.

The vendor said she is currently paying around $30 per square metre, and struggles to pay for her 20 square metre stall, as well as her staff’s salaries, all of which amount to about $1,000 a month.

Yesterday, the management team of Sorya Shopping Center declined to comment on the number of retail tenants that would leave the complex, and remained tight-lipped over the suggestion of rent price hikes.

According to Vann, the mall’s revamping efforts are not expected to disturb any businesses currently operating within the precinct.


  • Angkor lifetime pass, special Siem Reap travel offers planned

    The Ministry of Tourism plans to introduce a convenient, single lifetime pass for foreign travellers to visit Angkor Archaeological Park and potentially other areas. The move is designed to stimulate tourism to the culturally rich province of Siem Reap as the start of the “Visit

  • Ice cream, noodles flagged over carcinogen

    The General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia (GDCE) has identified three types of instant noodles and ice cream trademarks originating from Thailand, Vietnam and France that are suspected to contain ethylene oxide, which poses a cancer risk to consumers. The general department has

  • Exclusive interview with Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Representative of the EU

    CAMBODIA is hosting the 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and Related Meetings this week with top officials from the US, China, and Russia and other countries in the region slated to attend and to meet with face-to-face with their counterparts on the sidelines. In

  • Rise in Thai air routes to Siem Reap fuels travel hopes

    Local tourism industry players are eager for regional airline Bangkok Airways Pcl’s resumption of direct flight services between the Thai capital and Siem Reap town on August 1 – home of Cambodia’s awe-inspiring Angkor Archaeological Park – which is expected to boost the growth rate of

  • ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ meet commences, Taiwan issue possibly on table

    The 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and related meetings hosted by Cambodia kicks off in Phnom Penh on August 3, with progress, challenges, and the way forward for the ASEAN Community-building on the table. Issues on Taiwan, sparked by the visit of US House Speaker

  • Recap of this year’s ASEAN FM meet and look ahead

    This year’s edition of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) hosted by Cambodia comes against the backdrop of heightened global tensions and increasing rivalry between major powers that have been compared to the animosity of the Cold War era. The following is The Post’