The malls in Penang and the biggest regional one in JB?

I was invited to give a talk in Penang last weekend. The venue was Sunway Carnival mall. This is a mall which I have been to, many times in the past, when I was still based in Penang. I am now based in KL for the past 4 years. Finding a car park has always been tough. Today, it was not too hard, probably because I arrived early, before 11am. My good friend who dropped by to meet me, Ken Lim of told me that it was his 3rd time coming to Sunway Carnival Mall and he did not really like the fact that it’s so hard to get a car park! I told him that this may be a good sign for Sunway Carnival Mall. It meant that the crowd is huge enough to support the retail outlets there. However, when we had lunch at Kaffa, only a few tables were occupied. Fortunately this was not the case for all shops. Sakae Sushi was packed! Perhaps the price has some effects. I spent over RM30 for a meal and latte in Kaffa. A hot green tea and a few plates of sushi should cost much lesser. 🙂
I have not been to too many malls in Penang recently. Perhaps the other one I went to was Queensbay and it was packed, as usual. There were more shops too. So, are there any which is in trouble? Actually, how do we know if there are way too many malls? Would all malls face problems at the same time? I think we have to also look at the malls themselves. Assuming in the whole city, say in Penang, there are 15 small malls and suddenly one new super huge mall opens with majority of every brand available in all the 15 smaller malls. Would the new mall be closing or would some of the existing 15 be closing down instead? I think the answer is pretty clear, the biggest mall would most probably do well as most people would want to visit one place that has it all instead of three different places. The same applies to all major cities here in Malaysia. Having many existing malls does not mean no new malls are needed.

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In JB, I have been to a few malls. The one which is extremely packed would be City Square. In fact, let’s forget about finding a car park during the weekends. Another one would be KSL Mall which I think has also attracted many Singaporean shoppers. At least 2 different stall owners spoke to me in Mandarin and asked if I am coming into JB to shop from Singapore. As per reported in TheStar, the largest regional mall in Johor Bahru with 500 shop lots would be opening in November 2017. It’s called Paradigm Mall Johor Bahru. According to its owner, WCT Holdings Bhd, the take-up rate for the 1.3 million sq ft of net lettable space has already exceed 75 percent. It would have Parkson as its main tenant. The next one which is going to be huge would be Ikea Johor Baru. In fact this would open much earlier than the one in Penang. It will be opening in the Tebrau area. The new Johor Ikea store will have a total space of 46,713 sq m and serve more than 1.8 million people who live in the area. There are many more other malls being planned. There’s a full article from Singapore’s perspective here. About 4 new malls in JB.  Happy shopping, when they open.
written on 9 May 2017
Next suggested article: KL property prices? Still up….. slowly


  1. I used to bring my family to shopping malls every weekends. However, these shopping malls are offering the same old same old thingy. Very boring type. Previously, one can easily spend 4-6 hours in a super size mall but now the max drop to 2-3 hours. Malls are packed based on seasons now but not every weekends. I do agree that some areas just got the potential to have a brand new and well design mall as a replacement to those aging one.

    1. Thanks Fongkh. Happy shopping!

  2. Look at those mall in Penang bayan Baru and relau, many new malls and mix development (residential plus commercial) was build but occupancy rate is so poor, especially d piazza mall in bayan baru. You can have a visit, you will not the fact. Under this circumstance, it is oversupply but developer keep building it like no business. I wonder that who should put more control to curb the sprouting of mall. Secondary, is there a demand to build so many mall or property, I think that you all should have the answer. My 2 cents. Thanks

    1. Thanks Ang. I think it’s not about the number of malls but more about quality of malls. Building it does not mean it will suddenly do well.

      1. Hi Chialih,
        I do agree that, the quality of mall should be emphasized and put more effort for improvement, besides, I also do have the concern about cleanliness in that area, I used to pass by the area, noticed that the 5S has a gap for improvement, the grass and tree not used to well maintenance, even the dropping big leave on the floor, it retains without anyone take care of for more than a month, none of authority collect it and I have seen the rubbishes are everywhere on the floor. with this basic of maintenance can not be done well, what about big project? I doubt the chances of getting a poor quality is very high after sell or developed. I don’t buy this concept so called, hot spot with commercial activities unless I see those basic issues are addressed or improved. my 2 cents.

        1. Oh dear. If this is the mentality of the developer, its going to be tough…

  3. No, it is about the local authority in the area supposed to manage it well, developer is just doing their own part to develop their property in their land, what I want to raise my concern is.. local authority should play their own part to manage the area as cleanliness is an impression for state or country. There is a lot space for improvement in term of mindset.

    1. Oh. For this part, i agree too.

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