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Chelsea premium outlet shopping, Johor-style
Prepare to make a border run -- real outlet shopping is coming to a Malaysia town near you
Woah, stop the presses. For a shopping-obsessed country, we're wondering why there aren't bargain-hunters running through the streets and waving their fistful of retail dollars with this piece of news -- a "world-class premium factory outlet" will start construction at Kulai, Johor early next year and will be completed by mid-2011. It will be part of the US-based Chelsea Premium Outlets chain, known for its large, upscale outlet shops that sell brand names at discounted prices in major cities around the world.
We repeat the magic words -- brand names at discounted prices.
For those not familiar with Chelsea Premium Outlets, the stores sell previous seasons' stocks at discounts of 25 to 65 per cent. For example, Woodbury Common -- Chelsea’s most famous outlet in upstate New York -- has 220 stores selling top brands such as Burberry, Prada and Giorgio Armani.
For those who already know, get out your walking shoes and warm up those credit cards.
The new Johor project is expected to attract 4 million visitors a year, according to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. It's a joint venture between Chelsea Premium Outlets and Genting Group that's being developed in Johor as part of the Iskandar Malaysia project, and understandably, Malaysia has bragging rights to it. "It is the first (Chelsea) center in the (Asean) region and I'm very happy that they have chosen Malaysia," said PM Najib. He said he understood other countries in the region had been trying to woo the Chelsea Group to set up the center.
According to the Straits Times, one person who is looking forward to the new store is Singaporean advertising executive Chan Jui Ping. Describing Woodbury Common as a "Disneyland for shoppers," he spent eight hours shopping for clothes at before going home with a dozen brand-name items for just US$600 two years ago. "Hopefully the outlet in Johor will be more like the one in New York."