JR East to open retail spaces inside 27 metro stations in Singapore

05, Sep. 2019

JR East plans to open retail spaces at Singapore's metro stations. (Images courtesy of JR East)
JR East plans to open retail spaces at Singapore's metro stations. (Images courtesy of JR East)

SINGAPORE, NNA - East Japan Railway Co. will open retail spaces in Singapore metro stations as part of its overseas business expansion, aiming to cash in on purchasing power in Southeast Asia's richest economy.

Japan's largest passenger train line operator, known as JR East, said Tuesday it will open malls at 27 of the 32 stations on Thomson-East Coast Line, which will commence partial operation by the end of this year.

The Tokyo-based company said it is the first Japanese railway operator to develop commercial facilities at stations in foreign countries.

It initially plans to open malls at three stations near the border of Malaysia on the north-south line -- Woodlands North, Woodlands and Woodlands South -- in December, Toshio Omiyama, managing director of JR East Business Development SEA Pte. Ltd., JR East's wholly owned Singapore unit, said in an interview with NNA.

JR East won a retail operation contract for the train line for S$24 million (US$17.3 million) via the Singapore unit along with SMRT Experience Pte. Ltd., a subsidiary of public transport operator SMRT Corp., and Alphaplus Investments Pte. Ltd., a subsidiary of major supermarket and convenience store chain operator NTUC FairPrice Co-Operative, on Aug 27.

The three allies will establish Stellar Singapore-Japan Retail Pte. Ltd. in October to operate retail spaces, with JR East Business Development SEA holding a 35 percent stake. They did not elaborate further on the joint venture.

The new mall operator will rent total floor space at stations of 5,000 square meters from Singapore's Land Transport Authority for 16 years starting from the end of 2019, JR East said in a statement.

The largest shopping area will open at Woodlands Station with a 1,570 square-meter space, it said.

NTUC FairPrice intends to open Cheers convenience stores at malls, according to Omiyama.

The shopping malls may house some Japanese tenants that operate shops in malls run by the railway operator in Japan, Akiko Takamura, manager for new business development at JR East, told NNA, while declining to comment on shop categories.

The Thomson-East Coast Line will be developed in five phases to June 2024 to extend eastward near Changi Airport, becoming the third longest line in the city-state. (NNA/Kyodo)