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