Poster and film aficionados in Singapore are going to have to say goodbye to Poster Hub at Esplanade Mall because the store announced that it would be closing their flagship store. This announcement was made on their official Facebook page on 1 April, informing their customers that they will be having a Moving Out Sale to clear out the store.
According to their announcement, Poster Hub will be moving from Esplanade Mall to a new office/showroom at Tampines Retail Park, and they will be focusing more on their online sales from there. They explained that the reason that they are moving out was due to the financial impact caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“For the past few months, most businesses including us have taken a heavy toll from the COVID-19 pandemic, and we assess that it is no longer viable to operate from a physical shop. We have hence decided that we will be closing our flagship store at Esplanade Mall in mid-2020, and will be moving to a new showroom/office at Tampines Retail Park,” wrote Poster Hub in the Facebook post.
Poster Hub told TOC that lease of their store will be ending in two months and that their revenue had been plunging since the beginning of 2020 due to COVID-19. The owner of Poster Hub explained that 85 per cent of their store’s income is from walk-in customers, while online customers contribute 15 per cent of their income. Even when 15 per cent of their income is under online sales, 80 per cent of customers from this category will still visit their physical store to collect their items. Poster hub explained that these online customers choose to purchase their items online because they wanted to be sure that the item is secured before stepping into the shop.
They added that the shifted focus onto their online store was in line with the global digitisation and they will be able to focus on their online service as well as overseas distribution. With the new move, they do not expect as many tourists and casual shoppers as they did with their Esplanade store.
“This is also in line with our effort towards global digitalisation, where we will focus on online service and overseas distribution.”
Other than going digital, Poster Hub stated that the move will ease their rent payment so their business can continue to survive. The store owner told TOC that their rent at the Esplanade Mall is a soaring five-figure while their new store at Tampines will only be a few thousand dollars per month. The owner had also said that the new move is a “move into survival” mode.
Poster Hub explained that the COVID-19 pandemic had affirmed their decision in closing their Esplanade store of 16 years. Despite customers feeling sad to see them move away from the iconic spot, Poster Hub assured them that they will continue to serve them at their new premise with the same levels of service and dedication.
This store runs a niche business and it can be said to be the only surviving shop of its trade. It holds over 3,000 titles and 1,000 pieces of artwork, all of which are either copyrighted or commissioned work by local artists.
Since Poster Hub moved from Bugis to Esplanade 16 years ago during the SARS outbreak, it is somewhat ironic that the store is now embarking on a new journey amidst the current COVID-19 pandemic.
As seen in the photo below, no shoppers and patrons could be seen at the mall because of the lack of tourists, as well as the cancellation of all performances at the Esplanade Theatre.
Poster Hub’s customers and fans are saddened to witness the closure of their favourite spot, many had left comments under the Facebook post saying that they will continue to support the store at Tampines as well as their online shop.
Helmi Abdat commented that Poster Hub was among the only reasons he visits the Esplanade and that this store had been there for a really long time.
Sarah Lee wrote that she had been a fan for more than ten years since she was still a university student. Ms Lee complimented that Poster Hub provides great service and she will continue to support their new store.
Being a loyal supporter of the shop, Amy Rulz revealed that she had been following Poster Hub since the very first Singapore Toy, Games & Comic Convention (STGCC) since 2008.
Ryan Tan asked Poster Hub when will be their last day of operation at Esplanade and the store responded that they will be closing around mid-year. They also explained that they are still in discussion with Esplanade to confirm their closing date and they assure their customer that they will announce the date as soon as possible.
While the announced Budget is helpful to the businesses in a way, it does not address the strain the business owners experience in terms of the on-going rental. The business owners will still be required to pay for the rent for another six months.
Furthermore, as announced last Friday, non-essential businesses are to close from 7 April till 4 May. This would have made businesses such as Poster Hub worse off with the rental that they have to pay.