PETALING JAYA, 28 March: The Sunway Group aims to double its portfolio of shopping malls from five malls with a total net lettable area (NLA) of 4.5 million sq ft this year to 10 malls with 10 million sq ft NLA by 2020.
“Our inventory of space is about 4.5 million sq ft. In five years’ time by 2020, we hope to have up to 10 million sq ft NLA. Today we are already one of the largest shopping mall owner-operator in the country,” Sunway Shopping Malls & Theme Parks CEO HC Chan told SunBiz in an interview.
“Sunway Pyramid today, with the completion of our extension of Sunway Pyramid Part 3, are now closer to two million sq ft NLA. At Sunway Velocity, which is opening at end of this year, we have another one million sq ft while Sunway Putra Mall is another half million sq ft,” he said.
The group also has a mall in Seberang Jaya, Penang named Sunway Carnival with 500,000 sq ft as well as a smaller mall located in Kota Damansara named Sunway Giza, which has about 100,000 sq ft NLA.
“We’ve come a long way from a single mall. Eighteen years ago, we had Sunway Pyramid. Now we have five malls and in the coming years, we will have 10,” he said.
Also coming onstream over the next few years are the extension of Sunway Pyramid, that is Sunway Pyramid Part 4; a new mall within Sunway Iskandar in Johor; a new mall in Paya Terubong, Penang; and an outlet mall within Lost World of Tambun in Ipoh, Perak.
For Sunway Pyramid Part 4, Chan said it is in the planning stage for an additional 500,000 sq ft and will be rolled out when the timing is right, depending on demand.
“We still have land to expand the mall… the mall business is dynamic and we have the land area to grow. We can grow based on demand. When there is good, strong demand, we will build,” he said.
He said the group is also planning to build a mall within its Sunway Iskandar project in Johor. The mall, which will be located within the 2,000-acre integrated development, will measure at least one million sq ft.
Over in Penang, the group plans to build a one million sq ft mall in Paya Terubong. This will be its second shopping mall in the state – while in Ipoh, a 500,000 sq ft outlet mall will be added to complement the existing theme park, hotel and hot spring within Lost World of Tambun.
“For the mall in Paya Terubong, we plan to open it in a few years time. If all goes well, we will start construction next year. Then, maybe along the way, we could possibly acquire one or two malls over the next few years. That will add up to 10 malls for the 10 million sq ft NLA by 2020,” said Chan.
According to Chan, 2015 was a tough year due to the supply of new malls and intensified competition. However, the group remains confident of doubling its shopping malls division’s pre-tax profit from RM250 million now to RM500 million by 2020 based on its pipeline of new malls and mall extensions.
He said all its malls are located in strategic urbanised locations and mature catchment areas. The group also differentiates itself by building integrated developments rather than standalone malls.
“There are many malls but what is the differentiation? Malls have moved over the years from functional shopping to experiential shopping, and Sunway Shopping Malls is going along that route.
“Today, in a shopping mall, food and beverage (F&B) is 30%. I remember when I started my career over 30 years ago, F&B was less than 10%. If you add up the non-shopping components – F&B, leisure (entertainment activities like bowling, cinemas, etc), services like telco, massages, banks – these already exceed 50%. When over 50% of a mall is non-shopping, it should be called a lifestyle mall,” he added.