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Tough Times With COVID-19: Here Are 6 Retail And F&B Closures So Far In 2020


2020 would be the 12 months marked by Covid-19. Past the foremost problem of public well being, the virus outbreak has additionally pervaded many different areas like society and companies.

Survival is particularly difficult in retail and F&B, the place protected distancing measures inevitably lead to a plunge in footfall.

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Rental and manpower prices additionally stay a problem for a lot of operators, as even rebates from the Authorities will not be sufficient aid to tide them by these unprecedented instances.

In simply the primary quarter of the 12 months, we’ve already seen just a few closures.

Moreover impacts from Covid-19, a few of these companies have additionally struggled with falling traction over an extended time frame, attributable to a wide range of complicated elements.

1. Ministry Of Meals

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Boasting 80 eating places in its heyday, homegrown chain Ministry of Meals (MOF), which owns 9 F&B manufacturers, is now left with 26 shops in 2020.

Information of MOF’s huge downsizing was delivered to mild after a sudden closure of five outlets over the span of 1 weekend in late February.

A few of them, corresponding to Ju Hao at Bukit Panjang Plaza and MOF My Izakaya at Lot One, have been repossessed by their landlord as the corporate did not pay hire.

Nonetheless, MOF had really been shutting down eating places even earlier than that.

In 2019, it closed about 40 shops in a “main revamp” that supposedly helped the enterprise flip operationally worthwhile within the fourth quarter.

Sadly, this wasn’t sufficient to assist MOF stand up to its persevering with monetary troubles.

MOF founder Lena Sim has been dealing with a lawsuit from the owners of a Korean restaurant chain, after a failed enterprise deal to amass their manufacturers in 2017. She is being sued for an impressive cost of $4.eight million.

So as to add to that, enterprise has taken an even bigger hit for the reason that Covid-19 outbreak, with some shops struggling as much as 90 per cent drops in gross sales.

2. Breko Cafe

Breko Cafe has been a mainstay in Holland Village for practically 20 years, providing diners a comfy hangout spot with a wide selection of meals and drinks.

Prospects have been shocked when it introduced its closure in March 2020, particularly followers who stated they “grew up with” the cafe.

Breko’s proprietor Yong Wei Kai revealed in a Fb publish that the cafe has skilled “too many troublesome intervals” over its complete lifespan.

Regardless of surviving these earlier ordeals, it succumbed to its struggles this time and formally closed on 1 April.

Whereas Yong didn’t point out a cause for the closure, one can guess that prospects have been scarce for the previous few months as individuals keep away from social gatherings throughout this time.

With important impacts to income, the cafe wouldn’t have been in a position to maintain itself in the long term, seeing because the coronavirus state of affairs just isn’t going away anytime quickly.

3. Habitat by Honestbee

Picture Credit score: Honestbee

In mild of the Covid-19 outbreak, honestbee witnessed a “important discount in walk-in visitors” at its eating and grocery store retail idea, habitat.

It first introduced plans to take a temporary halt on habitat’s operations till 23 February.

Nearer to this date, the corporate then stated it will additional lengthen its closure to 29 February.

Regardless of that, it doesn’t look like habitat is reopening anytime quickly.

For one factor, its landlord LHN Area Assets has been unwilling to increase habitat’s lease, and is now in a position to reclaim the area as honestbee has misplaced courtroom safety towards debtors.

It was additionally reported that furnishings, fixtures and tools have been being cleared out of habitat’s premises in early March, leaving the positioning with nothing however empty cabinets.

Sharing about his plans to save the troubled business, honestbee CEO Ong Lay Ann stated he’ll pivot to a quick-service restaurant serving pizza as a substitute, and concentrate on restarting its on-line grocery supply enterprise in Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines.

4. Kapok

Picture Credit score: HereNow

Hong Kong way of life retailer Kapok first arrived in Singapore with a pop-up retailer in TANGS in 2012.

Following a slew of profitable pop-ups, the multi-label model determined to arrange a everlasting location.

It grew to become greatest recognized for its flagship retailer at Nationwide Design Centre (NDC), the place its curation of artsy manufacturers from Singapore and all over the world was a becoming addition to the cultural district.

Nonetheless, in March, Kapok started operating a farewell sale all through the month to clear its stock of consignment manufacturers. In line with its Fb posts, it formally closed shop on 31 March 2020.

As a result of nature of its location, vacationers possible made up a big portion of Kapok NDC’s guests.

Whereas it might not be capable to bear the burden of excessive rental prices on this present local weather, Kapok has shifted to a fully-online mannequin and is sustaining its presence right here by providing free delivery to Singapore.

5. Liang Court docket

Picture Credit score: Sengkang through Wikipedia

Consumers additionally bid farewell to Liang Court docket, an iconic shopping center in Clarke Quay since 1984, because it carried out its final day of operations on 31 March 2020.

Redevelopment plans have been launched final 12 months, after Metropolis Developments Restricted and CapitaLand purchased over the property for S$400 million.

It is going to be remodeled into an built-in growth with residential towers, a lodge and a industrial element.

Though tenants have been solely requested to vacate by the mall’s time limit, Liang Court docket already had many unoccupied shops earlier than then.

Through the years, the shopping center not had a powerful attraction because it fell behind newer and trendier developments within the bustling district recognized for its nightlife.

Liang Court docket was, nevertheless, standard among the many Japanese group with its many Japanese eating places and Japanese shops like Meidi-Ya.

Whereas Meidi-Ya has closed together with the mall, consumers could also be relieved to know that it’s opening a new two-storey outlet at Millennia Walk later this 12 months.

6. Isetan at Westgate

Picture Credit score: Yebber

Japanese division retailer Isetan additionally closed its Westgate outlet on 31 March, a significant two-storey retailer that was estimated to take up round 60,000 sq ft.

The Westgate outlet was making a loss amid powerful retail competitors and poor gross sales numbers.

As such, Isetan was unable to return to an settlement with its landlord JG Trustee to resume its lease ending in December 2019.

Whereas it couldn’t maintain on to the Westgate outlet, Isetan is placing its efforts into revamping its flagship retailer in Shaw Home alongside Orchard Street.

The corporate has invested $12 million to transform the area into a contemporary way of life idea with a larger emphasis on magnificence and athleisure.


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