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Malaysia’s Toppen Shopping Centre opens, bringing a raft of new brands to Johor Bahru

Ikea Southeast Asia has opened the giant Toppen Shopping Centre in the Malaysian city of Tebrau in Johor Bahru. 

Billed as a “retailtainment” destination, it is integrated with an established Ikea home-furnishings megastore, adding more than 1.25 million sqft of gross built-up area across four floors and with 300 stores. Anchors include a flagship cinema complex built by TGV, Ben’s Independent Grocer and Harvey Norman. 

Eighty per cent of the mall’s tenants are brands new to the city, including e-sports arena The Pantheon, 9 to 9, a first-in-Malaysia flagship online-to-offline concept from shoe brand Hush Puppies, and Concept Haus, premium streetwear and athleisure retailer. 

Toppen Shopping Centre marks Ikea Southeast Asia’s third Ikea-anchored mall development as the company marries its superstores with a more broad-based retail destination, a model in which both partners feed customers to each other, increasing the destination appeal to shoppers. 

Ikea Southeast Asia MD Christian Roejkjaer describes Toppen Shopping Centre as “a true meeting place for those in the region”.

“We will attract people not just from Johor, but from all over Southern Malaysia, and from Singapore, as well,” he told guests at the opening ceremony.  

In the last year, the company’s Ikea stores and shopping malls already trading have drawn 89 million visitors. “Our target is to attract millions more over the next year.” 

Located 15 minutes from downtown, Toppen Shopping Centre is within walking distance of an Aeon shopping centre and well connected by road and public-transport networks to the wider city. It has 4600 car parks. 

There is much more to this development than shopping. On the centre’s roof is a community hub dubbed The Topp, with areas dedicated to sport – a climbing wall, skateboard park and basketball court – in one space. An indoor-outdoor family zone with children’s rides and playground, an open landscaped park, an event space and about 30 al fresco food-and-beverage outlets fill another. 

“With Tebrau and Johor continuing to be a thriving community, we see a high demand for a one-stop destination that is convenient, family-friendly for shopping, leisure, dining, and overall to have a great day out with one another,” said Roejkjaer.  

The Toppen Shopping Centre has a gross development value of MYR 1.6 billion (US$386 million). It opened on time on a date set three months earlier, with 90 per cent of retail tenants operational this week, along with the TGV cinema complex.  

Roejkjaer, together with government officials at Wednesday’s opening, believes the complex will bring significant commercial benefits to the community.

“We hope that Toppen Shopping Centre will become a driver for Johor’s economic growth. Together, we are creating 5000 jobs, including many spinoff opportunities for people who will provide services here.”

#JelesEk Festival boosts launch

To mark Toppen Shopping Centre’s opening a festival for the community will run until November 24 featuring activities such as art workshops, yoga for kids, face painting, and family Zumba. Local skateboard, parkour and dance groups will be running workshops and competitions, all designed as a sneak preview of the thousands of events planned for the complex long term. 

Joakim Hogsander, GM at Toppen Shopping Centre says to be truly community-centric, the centre wanted to introduce itself “in a hyperlocal manner, tapping into their slang and interest”.

“#JelesEk is a festival that celebrates Johoreans and honours their talents by welcoming them to celebrate the grand opening of Toppen.”

A highlight will be a live performance of the #JelesEk anthem tomorrow (November 16) by local stars Joe Flizzow and Joyce Chu who created a special music video for Toppen. The song is also central to Toppen’s #JelesEk TikTok challenge, the first collaboration between a shopping centre and the social media video platform where Toppen guests are invited to dance and lip-sync to its song for a chance to win RM10,000 worth of prizes. 

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