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Empty Stores Multiply as Singapore No Longer Shoppers’ Paradise

  • Singapore island-wide mall vacancies at a seven-year high
  • Rents pressured as 4 million square feet to be added by 2018
General Retail As Lee Kuan Yew Leaves Business Hub Among The World's Most Expensive Cities
Photographer: Sanjit Das/Bloomberg

Empty storefronts in Singapore’s prime shopping district may become a more common sight.

Vacancies in the city’s main Orchard Road area, a magnet for tourists lured by malls and Japanese department stores such as Takashimaya, have risen to a five-year high and across the island, they’ve soared to the highest since 2009. As economies around the region struggle with sluggish growth and consumers rein in spending, property brokers are expecting more retailers to scale back and close shop. And while rents have slumped from a peak in 2014, they haven’t fallen nearly enough to convince some brands to stay.