We moved out of cathay!!
Why? We just had enough of Cathay’s bad management. See article below, The mall management is arrogant and amazingly lazy. Arrogant because they don’t even bother engaging the tenants to collectively get the crowds to come back. Lazy because they collected rent, management fee, promotional fees all of which we saw zero benefit. Worse of all they have the cheek to increase rent by 50%. Arrogant and Lazy are death knell but even worse the building management was asleep when promoters from neighboring mall aggressively wooed crowds to their malls as seen below.
We’re still in search of a good place which we hope is dipole to Cathay.
CATHAY DHOBY GHAUT A DYING PLACE
SINGAPORE: Even as experts suggest having more differentiation in malls to boost the local shopping scene amid slowing sales, retail centres which depart from the cookie-cutter model are also facing challenges. When The Cathay reopened in 2006 after a six-year hiatus and S$100 million refurbishment, it set itself apart from other malls by having tenants that were targeted at the mature crowd. Some of the popular names at that time included American-themed restaurant Billy Bombers and golf equipment retailer TaylorMade.
SALES ON THE DECLINE SINCE 2013: TENANTS
Rana, a store that sells ladies’ clothes and accessories, told Channel NewsAsia that it has seen retail sales dip by up to 40 per cent since 2013. “The crowds have thinned out since three years ago. Partly maybe it’s due to purchasing power – consumers don’t really spend much on buying goods. There are also many empty shops here. People come here to shop, but if they don’t see a lot of shops, then what is the point of coming?” asked Ms Li Hua Nam, Rana’s marketing manager. At Totally Hot Stuff, a store that sells gadgets and gifts, slower sales are also a problem. The store, which has been at The Cathay for seven years, has registered a drop in sales by about 30 to 40 per cent since 2013. “Business was quite buzzing in the initial stage. But I think trends have evolved – more people are buying things online,” said its business manager Luke Chong, adding that the stretches of vacant units in themselves could also be a reason for slower sales. With more variety of goods and services, we will probably attract more people. In the past, when we still had Bricks N Cubes, we did see spillover crowds. But with fewer tenants now, we do not have these crowds,” he said. The mall, which was formerly known as the Cathay Building, now houses about 40 retail outlets, ranging from fashion to entertainment, specifically targeting the youth demographic. A spokesperson from Cathay Organisation, which manages the mall, told Channel NewsAsia that it positions itself as a lifestyle and entertainment hub for the young and creative, as well as placing a significant emphasis on its tenant mix. “Over the past 10 years, we’ve noticed a gradual shift in the retail and urban landscape, especially with the establishment of art schools and universities around the area. Hence, we have taken steps to ensure that the mall’s positioning evolves with changing times to meet these new demands.” The management stopped short of revealing the mall’s occupancy rate. “It is committed to ensuring that consumers do not get a generic or cookie-cutter mall experience at The Cathay,” said the spokesperson. The mall is also looking forward to unveiling new and exciting tenants in the near future, the spokesperson added. But even as the mall positions itself as a unique proposition, dwindling crowds are a reality. “Most of us come here to just watch a movie or have lunch. We don’t really come here to shop, because the variety of clothes is quite limited and the price range is quite out of the league of normal students,” said Zoie Chia, a 21-year-old student. “I don’t find that there are many things available here, aside from the movies. I have a feeling that when I enter the mall it’s actually quite empty and there is not much stuff to shop for,” said Xu Long Xiang, a 23-year-old student.
‘MALLS SHOULD GO BEYOND LEASING SHOPS’: RETAIL EXPERTS
Retail experts say shopping malls such as The Cathay have to come up with activities to engage its target audience, as it is not just about finding the “right tenants”. “If you have a building and fill it with ‘young shops’ and you call that a mall that caters to the youth, I think that is only scratching the surface. Because if you do it like that, then only when I’m hungry, I’ll hang out there because I need to eat,” said Adjunct Associate Professor Lynda Wee of Nanyang Technological University’s Nanyang Business School. “Malls should go beyond just leasing shops and they have to understand their target audience’s lifestyle.” Her views were echoed by Singapore Polytechnic marketing retail lecturer Amos Tan, who said that consumer preferences have changed. “Consumers today don’t just buy things. They want an experience, they consistently want to be engaged, they want surprises, and it has to be in the form of a holistic experience,” he said. “The mall itself has to be very proactive, they have to think of different ways and concurrently hold events at shopping centres that are relevant to the lifestyle of their target audience.” Amid the gloomy economic outlook and strong competition from e-commerce, however, retail experts pointed out that the non-cookie-cutter route – designing a tailored tenant mix for a specific consumer group – could still be relevant in Singapore’s retail scene. “There is a need to go out to socialise and hang out. But where do you go? You will go to places where like-minded people hang out. So if a place understands my lifestyle, then I don’t even have to think of where to go; naturally I know where to go,” said Assoc Prof Wee. But ultimately, Mr Chong said the responsibility is on tenants to keep adapting to changing consumer needs in order to stay in the game. “The retail scene is more competitive than before as customers have more choices. Given some strong competitors in the market, we need to step up on our services, be more creative and reach out to the customers. The onus is on the brand owners to market their own business,” he said.
Cathay CEO Steps Down To Pursue Community Work
Thursday, Jan 08, 2015
SINGAPORE – Cathay Organisation’s chief executive Suhaimi Rafdi will be leaving the company on Feb 20.
Ms Choo Meileen, its managing director, will be taking over his responsibilities. She announced this on Monday in an e-mail. Mr Suhaimi, 47, is known for climbing the corporate ladder at Cathay, having joined the organisation in 1996 as assistant general manager in its Cathay Cineplexes arm. Speaking to The Straits Times on Tuesday, he said that he found the grassroots work he has been doing for the past year in the Tampines West constituency to be rewarding, inspiring him to seek ways to give back to society. He is chairman of the constituency club management committee at Tampines West, and also a board member with the Singapore Anti-Narcotics Association.
“I’m going to pursue other interests in the area of community work,” he said. Whether that work has to do with the Malay community, or whether it is in the private or public sector, he declined to say. He added that the two decades spent with Cathay was been “truly rewarding”. “I have learnt a lot, it has been a splendid 20 years and time has flown.” The widower and father of four (two of whom are adopted) has been held up as a community role model. In 2012, he was given the Berita Harian Achiever of the Year Award. The prize is organised by Malay-language newspaper Berita Harian and honours Malay/Muslim role models who show perseverance, determination, integrity and a proven ability to overcome the odds. In an interview with The Straits Times published shortly after the awards, he spoke of Malay under-representation in senior management positions.
“I would like the Malays to see themselves as equal to anybody else in this country. It’s not about your education anymore. It’s not about your cultural beliefs. It’s about you being able to perform and deliver results,” he said. Those who know him speak of his warm and informal manner, as well as his attention to organisational detail. At Cathay, he helped expand the the cineplex arm, from six screens when he joined to 60 screens in seven locations across the island by late 2013. From the late 1990s, he helped set up Cathay cinemas in Malaysia – in Penang and Johor Baru. He was made president of business operations in 2006 and managed Cathay subsidiaries in Singapore and Malaysia. In 2008, he was made chief executive officer of the group. That same year, he signed a deal with Dubai’s Emaar Malls Group to manage and develop cineplexes across the Middle East, North Africa, the Indian subcontinent and Indonesia. He also helped design, build and operate multiplexes in Jordan, Oman and Qatar. Today, Cathay has interests in cinemas, film distribution, property, hotel management, advertising and events management. Raised by his grand-aunt and her husband after being abandoned by his parents, he paid his way through a private A-level education with jobs at fast-food restaurants. After stints managing restaurants in a hotel and for a fast-food chain, he was hired as housekeeping manager at the Singapore General Hospital, where he modernised operations. Cathay got wind of his light touch with older, more stubborn members of the housekeeping staff and hired him. The group, celebrating its 80th anniversary this year, also had its share of older employees and needed to revamp operations.