A new shopping mall slated to feature seven levels of high-end goods opened for business on Saturday on the corner of Phnom Penh’s Monivong and Kampuchea Krom Boulevards.
The center is anchored by a three-floor BS Department Store, which is now open, and will soon feature a supermarket and three additional levels of boutiques.
The marketing manager of BS, which owns the site, said Monday that none of the stores on the site will sell Cambodian products and that the targeted clientele are the city’s elite. Though she declined to give the name of the Cambodian-Chinese owners of the store, she did say they live in Cambodia.
“The target of the BS Department Store and other branches is for government officials, business persons, diplomats and rich people, but we never prohibit other clients who prefer to buy our products,” Marketing Manager Nor Kakada said.
“We have no plans to sell Khmer products. And other business people who prefer to run any business in our stores, they are not going to sell Khmer products.”
Most of the products are from Thailand and Italy, she added.
A tour of the brightly-painted store on Sunday revealed mostly Thai-manufactured clothing. Men’s shirts were priced in the $35 range, jeans in the $20 range. A football cost at $14.
While those products may be too expensive for the estimated 5.6 million Cambodians—about 43 percent of the population—who live on less than $1 per day, one cashier said that business had been good since the opening. She believed that about $10,000 had been collected each day.
Nor Kakada confirmed the $10,000-a-day figure. “We can get more than 100 clients each day…. Our target is that our new department store can collect at least $300,000 each month,” she said.
She declined to say what salary and benefits are offered to the employees at the store.
MK Ng, general manager of Sorya Shopping Center, the capital’s biggest shopping mall, said he was not worried about the opening of the BS Department store.
“Of course for the city the development of shopping malls is really good,” MK Ng said. “We don’t think they are our competitor. Right now they are only selling fashions.”
He said that BS’s location on Monivong Boulevard could prove to be a weakness. “Their location is good because they are on Monivong, but this is a problem too. They will find it very difficult to find parking for customers,” he said.
According to Nor Kakada, “Neither Sorya nor other markets in the capital are our real competitors because the products selling at ordinary markets are low price and quality.”
“Diplomats and high-ranking officials cannot go shopping at ordinary markets,” she added.
Currently BS operates a smaller store within the Sorya Shopping Center. Nor Kakada said that this branch will remain open and BS plans to open more. “In five years, we estimate that we can construct another shopping mall that is bigger than our current BS Department Store,” she said.