Ugly Duck­ling be­comes swan: Pa­pua New Guinea re­tailer Brian Bell 0pens K30m mall

Fiji Sun - - WORLD BUSINESS -

Not even a pan­demic could stop the new Gor­dons Plaza from open­ing in Port Moresby.

When Pa­pua New Guinea’s re­tail group Brian Bell made plans to shift its Port Moresby ware­house from the sub­urb of Gor­dons to a new fa­cil­ity at Gerehu, the com­pany in­vested K30 mil­lion (FJ$18.89m) to turn the dark, de­serted ware­house space it left be­hind into a brand new 24-store mall.

‘Turn­ing the ugly duck­ling into the swan,’ laughs Brian Bell’s chief ex­ec­u­tive Cameron Mackel­lar. It was a brave move to con­tinue on with the project dur­ing the global COVID-19 pan­demic and PNG’s state of emer­gency but, Mackel­lar says, the end re­sult has out­shone the group’s ex­pec­ta­tions.

Fea­tur­ing an ex­panded groupowned Home Cen­tre as its an­chor

ten­ant, the mall has been cre­ated as a one-stop shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence for those look­ing for a range of re­tail ex­pe­ri­ences, from home­wares, mu­si­cal equip­ment or postal ser­vices, and will pro­vide a much-needed boost to the lo­cal job mar­ket.

Draw­ing its in­spi­ra­tion from in­ter­na­tional malls but adapt­ing to lo­cal Pa­pua New Guinean needs, the new Gor­dons Plaza has been in the works for three years, yet

COVID-19 re­stric­tions did af­fect the open­ing.

‘There were con­sid­er­a­tions to­ward the back end of the project with meet­ing cur­rent ex­pec­ta­tions,’ Mackel­lar tells Busi­ness Ad­van­tage PNG.

‘It was more about how we man­age traf­fic flow upon open­ing and the fact we had a very soft open­ing.’

Soft open­ing or not, word still got around and Mackel­lar says the lat­est ad­di­tion to Port Moresby’s re­tail land­scape has en­joyed an ‘over­whelm­ing re­sponse’ from shop­pers, with queues form­ing to get into the re­vamped space.

And that is good news for its re­tail­ers.

When you open a shop­ping cen­tre that has 21 new re­tail out­lets, they have a view that they want to be trad­ing pretty solidly from the getgo.

The new 24-store Gor­dons Plaza in Port Moresby.

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