ST PHOTOS: KELVIN CHNG, TIMOTHY DAVID

BHG Singapore will take over two floors at Raffles City Shopping Centre formerly occupied by Robinsons, which closed its last outlet there on Jan 9.

In partnership with Raffles City Singapore, the department store will open a new concept store showcasing its best beauty, fashion, and home and living products.

The store, called One Assembly, will open by the end of the month, said BHG Singapore and Raffles City Singapore in a joint statement on Jan 14.

“As established players in the retail industry, BHG Singapore and Raffles City Singapore are drawing on their combined industry insights to explore fresh ways of collaboration and inject new life into the local retail scene,” said the statement.

While the concept store is a short-term pop-up, it will remain open for the foreseeable future, BHG Singapore told The Straits Times.

The department store is happy to explore a long-term partnership with CapitaLand, which manages Raffles City Shopping Centre, said BHG’s spokesman.

bhg raffles city
The shop space formerly occupied by Robinsons on the second floor of Raffles City Shopping Centre.
Credit: ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

The concept store is expected to go big on digital payments.

Shoppers will have the choice of paying for their purchases using eCapitaVouchers, and payment platforms Hoolah and FavePay.

In the future, the store intends to make some of its products available on eCapitaMall, CapitaLand’s online shopping website.

“As part of our reinvention strategy, we aim to integrate both physical and digital shopping journeys to create a seamless shopping experience,” said BHG Singapore.

Associate Professor Lawrence Loh from the National University of Singapore Business School agreed that the future of retail lies in the integration of online and offline shopping.

“But on-site stores are still important because they let customers touch and feel the product,” he said.

Department stores here have been shifting some of their business online amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Last November, BHG Singapore told The Straits Times that it launched its own shopping site in June that year. The retailer also participated in 11.11 and Black Friday sales last year.

To enhance the shopping experience, the One Assembly store will feature two spa cabins for shoppers wishing to relax.

“One Assembly will provide new experiences to shoppers. Combined with its prime location, we are confident that it will become a favoured destination for our shoppers,” said managing director of BHG Singapore Udai Kunzru on Friday.

bhg raffles city
The shop space formerly occupied by Robinsons on the second floor of Raffles City Shopping Centre.
Credit: ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

Offering customers memorable experiences is one way the department store has remained relevant amid the changing retail landscape.

It introduced five spa cabins to its Beauty Hall at its Bugis Junction outlet, as part of an extensive revamp completed last October. “We are heartened that our reinvention efforts have been well-received,” said BHG Singapore.

When it opens, the concept store at Raffles City will feature brands such as La Mer and La Prairie which are not currently available at existing BHG stores.

“Having a new brand close to their existing store at Bugis allows them to reach a different segment of consumers without alienating their existing ones,” said Ms Esther Ho, director of Nanyang Polytechnic’s School of Business Management.

CapitaLand Singapore’s managing director of retail Chris Chong said Raffles City is delighted to partner with BHG Singapore.

“By joining hands to present One Assembly, we set out to enhance Raffles City’s shopping experience with a plethora of offerings that are thoughtfully curated for this collaborative space,” said Mr Chong.

Before Robinsons moved out of Raffles City, the outlet had occupied three floors.

As for who will occupy the third floor space left by Robinsons, a Raffles City spokesman said talks with various brands are ongoing and more details will be shared in due course.

Robinsons announced on Oct 30 last year that it was closing its last two outlets here, and said then the decision to liquidate was prompted by a range of factors, including changing consumer tastes and cost pressures such as rent.

This article first appeared in The Straits Times.