The Success Of A Suburban Shopping Centre Cultural Studies Essay

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Jurong Point was built in 1995 (Jurong Point, 2007); initially it was established to cater to the needs of the residents living in and around the Boon Lay area. As the west district becomes more developed, with more amenities and buildings being built, such as The Jurong Central Park and Jurong Safra, it resulted in Jurong Point having to undergo two major renovations and expansion in year December 2000 and December 2008 respectively in order to cater to the demands of the high increase in patronage (Jurong Point, 2007). As we can see, today, "the role of suburban shopping centre in the local context does not merely exist to cater to shopping needs but also to provide complementary and supporting facilities to the local community.

The location of Jurong Point Shopping Centre is marked out with a red star in the map above (Figure 1). Jurong Point is strategically located in Jurong in the western part of the island. According to Figure 1 as shown, the shopping centre is virtually situated between the Boon Lay MRT Station and a 65-bay bus interchange. Furthermore, based on its spatial location shown in Figure 2, it shows an indication of one form of spatial interaction and connectivity that is suggested by the lines; one can tell that it serves as a gateway to the 3 main categories of consumers: industrial estate of Jurong West, Singapore's Key Educational Institutions as well as the residential population in the west. These people have a common type of mobility - Circulation.

Jurong Point is located 0.4 kilometre from Khong Guan Factory and Shell Boon Lay, 0.5 kilometre from Sime Darby Edible Factory and Jurong Fire Station and other 1500 factories in its vicinity. As the representative map retrieved from OneMap has its limitations, it is impossible to portray all 1500 factories in the figure as shown.

Jurong Point Shopping Centre has an added advantage of locating side-by-side with Boon Lay MRT station and Boon Lay Bus Interchange. These two added features are the key underlying determinants in constituting to the high human traffic flow of Jurong Point Shopping Centre. As Buses and Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) are the most common public transport tools use by the people in Singapore, it is inevitable that most people have to pass through Jurong Point since it is virtually sitting in between the Boon Lay MRT Station and Boon Lay Bus Interchange. The inter-relation between these two added features and Jurong Point Shopping Centre is a crucial aspect of making the shopping centre a successful one. In addition, because of its large-scale size (approximately 750, 000 square feet), it is able to contain more retailers (approximately 450 retailers) which increases the probability of providing shops and services that meet the demands of the shoppers. (Jurong Point, 2007)

In another study, Sirmans and Guidry (1993) point out that high consumer traffic flows are a prerequisite for the success of a shopping centre. The higher the consumer traffic flow, the higher is the probability of retail sales. Therefore, a field study was carried out at various locations of Jurong Point Shopping Centre manually counting the human traffic flow using a counter over two days - one on a weekday and the other on a weekend. The results for the two days are collated and are shown in Table 1 below:

Mall visitors and patrons were randomly intercepted while they were entering the shopping centres and invited to participate in the survey. To insure that the survey results are not concentrated on specific group of shoppers based on the timing of their visits, the interviews were spread out over two days of the week - one on a weekday and the other on a weekend. In total, 100 patrons obliged to the request to be interviewed.

The age distribution of the interviewees is presented in Chart 1 as shown below. Approximately, 20% of the respondents were below 20 years. The majority (65%) fall between the 20 - 40 years old age group. Respondents above 40 years old constitute another 15% of the survey sample.

"It is convenient to travel to Jurong Point Shopping Centre. There is a bus stop about 100 metres away from my flat… It is direct to go there, furthermore, it takes me around 10 minutes to reach. If I go to Orchard Road, I need to change transport which is not worth the effort, as things there are almost the same" (woman, 30 - 35, professional, Chinese, no car.)

As quoted from a woman being surveyed, she further elaborated the reasons why she chose to shop at Jurong Point Shopping Centre. Hence, based on the results of the survey as illustrated in Table 3, convenience and easy access to a suburban shopping centre is the main factor that drew consumers to shop at the mall.

In another research, Mejia and Benjamin (2002) indicate that the retail market of a mall is traditionally referred to as the area from which a shopping centre draws 70% - 80% of its sales. Those people who took 30 minutes or less to travel to Jurong Point Shopping Centre are likely to stay in close proximity to the mall, thus, fall within the local retail market boundary of the shopping centre. Based on the results as shown in Table 4, 70% of the respondents took less than 15 minutes to travel to Jurong Point Shopping Centre, 20% of the respondents took around 15 - 20 minutes and a minority of 10% of the respondents took more than 30 minutes. This group of shoppers is generally known as "outshoppers".

The aim of this report was to analyze and examine the non-monetary measures which brought the success of a suburban shopping centre - Jurong Point Shopping Centre. There are many different factors that contributed to the success of Jurong Point Shopping Centre. Based on the research, the main underlying determinant which contributed to the critical success of the shopping centre has been identified by the author -the efficient transportation system such as Boon Lay MRT station and Boon Lay Bus Interchange that are co-located with Jurong Point Shopping Centre. This ensures that the shoppers living within the regional centre are well linked to the suburban shopping centres. All in all, suburban shopping centres "act as a focal point for the neighbourhood and have significantly altered the residents' lifestyle with their tenant mix of customary retail shops, entertainment outlets, cinemas, public library, and food courts", all-in-one almost at their doorstep. (Ibrahim and Ng, 2002)