Aeon’s Mega Mall Scheduled to Open in June

Cambodia’s most ambitious shopping mall to date, complete with premium brands, an ice rink and 4-D state-of-the-art cinema, is on schedule to open at the end of June, the mall’s Japanese developers said at a press conference on Saturday.

Aeon Mall (Cambodia) Co. Ltd. representatives unveiled detailed plans for the mall, which was estimated last year to cost $205 million, during a conference at Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra hotel.

Aeon Mall, located on So­thea­ros boulevard, will be home to 190 shops spread out over four floors and will include retail outlets for major brands such as Levis, Mango, Puma and Jap­a­nese electrical store Nojima.

There will also be a 1,000-square-meter ice rink, a Hang Meas TV studio that will broadcast live shows, food courts and a seven-screen Major Cineplex, a Thai-owned cinema chain, complete with bowling lanes.

Aeon Mall managing director Makoto Yajima said the mall would fit into a modernizing retail landscape that is no longer dominated by markets sellers and small shops.

“In recent years, there have been new modern-style businesses spreading in the city in this quickly changing environment,” he said at Saturday’s conference. “Our mission is to create a shopping mall with surprise, joy and excitement, which is more than the expectation of Phnom Penh.”

One of the new names to enter Cambodia and the Aeon Mall is the British salon chain Toni & Guy, whose haircuts start from about $85 in the U.K.

Lincoln Wood, Toni & Guy’s general manager in Cambodia, said the company’s arrival comes as a growing middle class is beginning to spend more money on West­ern fashion and grooming practices. But whether this clientele can sustain such luxury services isn’t a sure thing, Mr. Wood added.

“[Cambodia] is a challenge for me especially coming from Tokyo, where the market’s almost saturated and people are used to paying a lot of money for haircuts,” he said. Determining a pricing structure for the company’s services in Phnom Penh “is a tricky thing I have to really consider,” he added.

Another mall tenant coming to Cambodia for the first time is Eadeco, a Malaysia-based international bedding manufacturer.

David Tan, general manager of Eadeco (Cambodia) Co. Ltd., said despite rising consumerism, en­couraging shoppers to buy their bedding, which costs up to $500, will require some convincing.

“We foresee a lot of potential here…people are keen [to] buy a house and turn it into a home with better quality furniture and possessions…and there is a readiness to accept new things,” he said.

Although increasing urbanization and a growing middle class may help bolster business at Aeon Mall, it will also face in­creasing competition from other malls and supermarkets looking to capture the same consumers, said Ian Ra­mage, director of Angkor Research and Consulting.

“The challenge will not be a lack of customers but competition from other malls and supermarkets,” he said.

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