Why Marks & Spencer May Follow The Demise Of Sister Brand Robinsons Despite New S’pore Store


Asia Today: Hong Kong, Singapore OK…
Halsey changed her name to make herself…
Kevin Woo of U-Kiss on the K-pop band, new…
Cyprus locks down southwest over surge…
Waves of attacks on US hospitals show a…
First direct comparison of PS5 and Xbox…
How the stock market has treated new…
Is It Safe To Get Eyelash Extensions During…
Roasted Duck Beats Thanksgiving Turkey
Netherlands 1-1 Spain: Player Rating…
These 10 Thanksgiving Facts Will Surprise You
Travel bubble: Singapore goes gaga …
Michael Bay to Direct Action Film …
K-pop stars Blackpink named world’s…
Donations under $8K to Trump ‘election…
Robot wolves prevent Japanese bear attacks…
The 25 best free games to play right now
EU sees vaccinations within months as…
This sweet potato casserole is absolutely…
Gareth Southgate Offers Injury Update…
2021 Acura NSX Adds to Its Heritage Paint…
Inside the rise of Pop Crave, the disruptive…
In Sri Lanka, turmeric is being exchanged for…
‘Borat 2’ star Maria Bakalova says she…
Diane von Furstenberg announes H+M…
UN hails Libya elections ‘breakthrough’ at…
The Best Walmart Black Friday deals: The best…
Grab launches Tech Center in Indonesia…
Once Vilified, Pot Is Becoming (Gasp!)…
Reese’s Holiday Lights Have Been Spott…
Five defenders Liverpool could sign …
Mazda Shows Inline-Six Engines, Confirms…
Holiday searches surge in wake of Covid…
This M’sian Startup Has Made A Business Out…
Bryce Dallas Howard Cuts and Dyes Hair…
Pink isn’t just for girls: a designer big on…
Libyans agree preliminary plan for…
Where to buy a PS5 in Australia: keep…
Singapore to Start ‘World First’ Air Travel…
I made Moscow Mules using 4 celebrity…
Gareth Southgate insists Greg Clarke…
Gan Kim Yong: No plans to give everyone in Singapore the Covid-19 vaccine
Asia Today: Hong Kong, Singapore OK quarantine-free travel
About two weeks ago (October 30), departmental store Robinsons announced that it is making its exit from Singapore for good, following losses in recent years.
The 162-year-old department store, one of Singapore’s oldest, said that it has started a liquidation process of its remaining stores due to weak demand stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic.
It had closed its outlet at Jem mall in Jurong earlier in August, while its last two stores at The Heeren and Raffles City Shopping Centre remain open for closing sales.
In contrast, its sister brand Marks & Spencer recently unveiled a new pop-up store at Waterway Point mall.
For a long time, Singapore retailers have been facing headwinds on multiple fronts, including high operating costs and competition from online shopping.
This sparked Singaporeans to question the survivability of departmental stores in Singapore.
Robinsons and Marks & Spencer are both owned by Dubai-based conglomerate Al-Futtaim Group.
It also carries brands such as Zara, Massimo Dutti, Bebe, Bershka, Lacoste, Mango and Ted Baker in its portfolio.
It also used to manage departmental store chain John Little, which closed all its stores in Singapore by 2016, after 174 years in operation. The John Little chain was acquired by Robinsons in 1955.
The decision to shutter its John Little outlets was made “after evaluating the relevancy and sustainability of the John Little brick-and-mortar business”.
In its heyday in the early 2000s, John Little had seven branches, including its flagship store at Specialists’ Shopping Centre, which closed after more than 20 years in 2007.
Four years later, Robinsons also announced that it will be folding its last two outlets at The Heeren and Raffles City Shopping Centre.
According to The Business Times, the department store has been raking in at least six years of losses amid declining revenues. Financial records show that the company recorded up to S$54.4 million in losses in 2018.
Its topline also shrunk — it generated S$153.8 million in revenue that same year, a significant decrease from the S$257.3 million it generated in 2014.
At the end of August 2020, Robinsons shuttered its Jem outlet, saying that it was “no longer a sustainable option” to operate multiple large-scale department stores in Singapore.
In line with the shifting retail landscape and Covid-19 pandemic, Robinsons had ramped up its efforts to reach customers online.
In addition to its existing online store, which underwent a revamp, it also launched its products on Lazada’s ‘LazMall’. These plans however, did not help it survive.
On the other hand, Marks & Spencer (M&S) seems unfazed as it opened a new outlet at Waterway Point, bringing its total number outlets here to 11.
The store opened on October 31 and according to The Business Times, it will operate as a “pop-up” for the next six months.
However, the departmental chain seems to be treading on thin ice. They made a profit after tax of S$101,613 in 2018, down from S$2.9 million a year ago.
Last week, it was also reported that M&S made its first loss in almost 100 years as a result of the pandemic.
It recorded a pre-tax loss of £87.6 million (S$156.7 million) in the six months to 26 September. The company lost £71.6 million (S$128.2 million) after tax and revenue fell 16 per cent to £4 billion (S$7.1 billion).
With such heavy losses, it does not seem viable for them to open a new store at this point.
However, this could simply be a tactic to grab more market share. With Robinsons out of the market, Al-Futtaim could see this as a chance to draw Robinsons’ customers to Marks & Spencer, instead to existing chains such as Isetan or BHG.
M&S could use the opportunity to stretch their influence in the market, after living in its sister’s shadow for years.
Seeing how they chose to launch a new “pop up” instead of a full-fledged departmental store, they could be testing the waters to see how this strategy could turn out.
Regardless, M&S is not out of the woods yet as they are currently in the red and may continue to see losses.
Therefore, they may follow in Robinsons’ footsteps and potentially face collapse after consecutive years of losses and the ongoing pressures on physical retailers.
Featured Image Credit: Darren Bloggie
Why Are People Calling China Amazing?
Autel TPMS sensor