Since the advent of Cambodia’s first shopping mall Sorya Shopping Center in 2002, numerous western-style retail complexes have emanated in Phnom Penh providing an alternative shopping destination to the capital’s traditional markets and roadside outlets. A Chroy Changvar-based mall is set to be the next major entrant into this expanding market, with the launch date slated for August, the project owner said this week.
Young’s Commercial Centre, which is part of the Happiness City development being built on reclaimed swamp land about 100 metres east of the Cambodian-Japanese Friendship Bridge, will comprise approximately 500 units, said Managing Director and owner Ear Kim Keng.
While the project has faced issues in recent years, construction is now 80 per cent complete, he said.
“We were affected by the economic crisis like everybody else, but construction never stopped,” he said.
The 30,000 square metre shopping mall, in addition to the retail units, will include leisure space. According to Ear Kim Keng, local entertainment service provider Happy Land Amusement Co has leased an entire floor – 5,224 square metres – on which it plans to open an entertainment complex, including the Kingdom’s second 3D cinema.
He added that the project will also boast a state-of-the-art 2,300 square metre water park.
“The shopping mall will be different from our competitors because we will have Cambodia’s best water park and other leisure facilities, which will attract both children and parents.”
About 70 per cent of the of the development has already been rented by clients including KFC, Pizza Company and Swensen’s, said Ear Kim Keng, adding that he expects the mall to attract further overseas investors.
Rental prices at Young’s Commercial Centre vary from US$10 to $22 per square metre, depending on location, however, he said that he doesn’t anticipate any difficulties in attracting more companies and customers.
“We are located in a prime development zone, with many new projects set to be constructed in the surrounding area,” he said, referring to the nearby OCIC City of the Future development.
“Another bridge over to the peninsula is also set to open next year, which will increase the number of visitors to the area and attract customers to our mall,” Ear Kim Keng added.
Some industry experts, however, said that the mall, located on the outskirts of the city, may initially struggle to attract customers.
“It [the mall] could work as a specialised market, but in terms of general shopping, time will tell,” said Knight Frank Country Manager Sunny Soo.
He added that there is still room for successfully run Western-style shopping malls in the sector, while the standard of some of the existing projects could be improved.
“It’s very apparent that a lot of [high-end] brands are not in the market,” he said. “In terms of real [Western-style] malls, we are only talking about Sorya Shopping Center and City Mall.”
Hung Chuang Ming, general manager of City Mall, the latest of the city’s shopping complexes, said that the new mall on Chroy Changvar is not a serious form of competition when compared to the great number of small shopping venues spread throughout the city.
Competition is fierce because of the availability of goods at all prices, at venues just about anywhere in the city, he said.
“There’s simply too much stuff for sale in this market. And the stuff is all the same,” he said, adding that markets for fast-moving consumer goods were not necessarily concentrated in shopping malls, but every street in city.
While the majority of upscale malls claim to focus on attracting local clients, Japanese developer Aeon Mall Co said this week that it expects to attract overseas tenants, especially from Japan and ASEAN countries.
The development, which is slated to begin this year, will comprise about 150 units, according to a company representative.
“Cambodian customers can experience a Japanese-style shopping mall, which will develop new demands,” he said, adding that the project is set for completion in 2014.