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Arcadia Malaysia partner rules out expansion

Wing Tai, the corporate retailer which partners with Uniqlo and a raft of other brands, including the Arcadia Malaysia stores, says it is streamlining its retail business.

The listed company has 85 retail stores in Malaysia’s major cities under 12 international brands – Topshop, Topman, Dorothy Perkins, Miss Selfridge, Warehouse, Karen Millen, Pumpkin Patch, Wallies, BCBG, Ben Sherman, Burton and Furla. It also has a 45 per cent stake in the joint venture with Japan’s Fast Retailing, operating 25 Uniqlo stores.

Wing Tai GM of finance Lee Kong Beng says while the Uniqlo store network, targeting the value driven fast fashion customers, will expand into suburban markets, the Arcadia brands like Topshop and Topman have reached their limits in Malaysia.

“We will not expand (the Arcadia brands),” he told a press briefing this week.

He said while there were no current plans to close Arcadia stores, if any store failed to generate positive cashflow or profit it would be cut.

“For retail, we’d just consolidate because it’s challenging. So no point being a hero, where you open outlets and the sale is not there.”

Lee said the company was finding the current retail market in Malaysia challenging following the introduction of GST on April 1, which consumers are slowly adjusting to.

An influx of tourists was bolstering the group’s earnings, with spending holding up in stores in high profile shopping malls.

“We expect retail sales to pick up because of the weakening of the ringgit, so it’s cheaper to shop in Malaysia rather than in Singapore. It’s a matter of time people get used to GST. We see that (retail sales) are more stabilised now,” Lee said.

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