Building at a cost of S$1.78 billion, Jewel at Changi Airport first opened its doors last April, and has become an “instantly recognised icon” in Singapore, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
In fact, Jewel has helped bolster Changi Airport’s reputation and competitiveness, said Mr Lee, adding that it has enhanced the appeal of the airport as a tourist destination itself.
Just six months since its opening, Jewel has seen over 50 million visitors, said Changi Airport Group (CAG) in a statement, with Mr Lee saying Singaporeans are “rightly” proud of the complex. CAG added that Jewel has had as many as 300,000 local and international visitors a day.
However, about nine-months after launching the 10-storey development, which houses more than 280 shops and food and beverage shops, some retailers express that business has been down.
According to an article published by The Straits Times (ST), retail outlets at Jewel are finding it difficult to reach their sales target. In fact, sales staff from eight out of the 17 outlets that the news sites spoke to said so.
One retail manager at a basement-level fashion store expressed that the outlet has failed to reach its sales target for the last three months.
“Though business picked up in December because of the school holidays, sales are still not that great. Many people come here to eat and look at the waterfall rather than actually shop,” she said.
She noted that the other outlet for the retail brand that she works for located at Orchard Road is doing about three times better than the shop in Jewel. Other stores, which have shops at Orchard Road, are also performing at least 50 percent better than those in Jewel.
Besides that, retail shops at basement levels receive much lesser foot traffic as compared to outlets at levels one and two, said a sales employee.
The employee told ST that, “This place is quite large and many people want to take time to explore the attractions when they are here. So they end up shopping for only a short time, which means they can’t visit every store.”
Separately, a worker of popular salted egg snack store Irvins, Eryanty Zainalabiden, said that almost 80 percent of the store’s customers are tourists from countries like Indonesia, China and Thailand.
“So when these countries are not having school holidays, then we get fewer customers,” she said.
Despite being able to reach the sales targets in December due to the festive season, Ms Eryanty said that the store still had a 30 percent decline in sales in October and November, as opposed to the previous months when it had a much lesser tourists.
However, local fashion brand, In Good Company, has a different opinion altogether as they had been receiving large number of foot traffic.
“We’ve seen increased foot traffic over the last few months and we’re optimistic about 2020. We are also happy that our store’s food and beverage partner, Birds of Paradise, has seen snaking queues and an increasing fan following, both local and overseas, at its gelato boutique,” said the company’s managing director of sales Jaclyn Teo.
If that’s not all, the clothing line also sees almost double the amount of tourist spending at its Jewel’s outlets, compared with each of the brand’s two stores in Orchard Road.
In addition, ST also reported that restaurant staff that they spoke to last month all noted that business has been doing well in the past few months, especially after the operating hours were changed.
Last July, all eight restaurants at Jewel’s fifth floor Canopy Park, reduced their operating hours. They are now opened from 9am to 1am (Fridays, Saturdays and eve of public holidays), and 10am to midnight (Sundays to Thursdays).
Prior to that, they were operating daily from 9am to 3am.
The shorter hours have said to help to improve staff welfare and manpower management.