These are the best shopping malls in Singapore. Here’s how to own them.
09 Mar 2022
Regardless of whether your favourite shopping mall is Vivocity, Paragon, or Suntec City, we look at ways you can own a slice of it.
- Vivocity is the largest shopping mall in Singapore with a good mix of tenants in the lifestyle segment.
- Suntec City Mall is well connected by two different MRT lines, and has a similar lifestyle offering.
- Looking for a Prada and Gucci store? Then head to Paragon which is skewed towards luxury brands.
- Interested in owning a slice in a retail mall? Investors can look at Mapletree Commercial Trust (MCT), Suntec REIT or SPH REIT to get exposure to these malls.
Shopping, shopping, shopping! We all can’t resist a good dose of retail therapy. While alot of the shopping is done online through Shopee or Lazada these days, it is still a favourite past time of Singaporeans to hang out at a mall to queue for a cup of bubble tea (extra pearls please!) and to get into the newest Don Don Donki store. Here, we look at 3 of Singaporeans’ favourite shopping malls and investigate if we can get to own a slice of them as well!
When Singaporeans mention shopping malls, Vivocity will definitely appear among Top 3. Singapore’s largest mall with over 1m sqft of retail space, this lifestyle mall offers a good mix of F&B outlets like Paik’s Bibim and Shake Shack to entertainment like Golden Village and TimeZone, hypermarket like NTUC Xtra. It even has a NLB library to let the kids spend the entire day in. Essentially, it has something for everyone.
My favourite spot? Definitely the mega 2 storey NTUC Xtra, where ReverseTap Beer in B3 section will fill your cup of beer in just 7 seconds for S$5.50 and you can pair with your choice of meat and grilled on the spot with Culina@The Kitchen. #dontsaybojio but everyone loves cheap beer right?
And the only complaint about Vivocity? That it is too crowded. That’s a 1st world problem.
Source: Mapletree Commercial Trust
Suntec City Mall
Suntec City Mall was Singapore’s largest retail mall when it was opened in 1994 with 0.9m sqft. The shops and positioning are similar to Vivo but seems like a weaker cousin compared to Vivo, despite being connected to 2 MRT Lines (Downtown Line and Circle Line). Suntec’s Fountain of Wealth is still the highlight of the mall, where B3 dining area allow a full view of the Fountain while you dine.
Why visit Suntec City: Cow Play Cow Moo on East Wing is definitely a traffic puller with its incredibly addictive arcade games to win tickets to exchange for gifts!
Complaint about Suntec City? Cant remember the number of times I cursed when I need to get to Vivo Mobile or Golden Village from DDK or Uniqlo. That’s piling the entire mall from one end to another!
Source: Suntec REIT
Well known for its luxury shops such as Prada, Balenciaga and Gucci, Paragon has been an important landmark along Orchard Road. With a GFA of over 717,905 sqft of retail space and 298 tenants, Paragon also has a mix of lifestyle shops such as Nike, Muji and favourite eateries such as Crystal Jade Golden Palace and Din Tai Fung. It also houses Singapore’s only Greyhound Café to satisfy Singaporeans’ craving for Thailand, without leaving Singapore!
Complaint about Paragon? Money not enough.
Source: SPH REIT
What does this mean for REIT investors?
Vivocity, Suntec City and Paragon are flagship retail assets of 3 REITs listed in SGX, namely Mapletree Commercial REIT (MCT), Suntec REIT and SPH REIT. As mentioned in previous articles, “Why Singapore REITs might be worth a look”, and 3 Singapore REITs to add to your watchlist, we can start to look at the REITs by understanding the key assets owned.
We compare a few key indicators across these REITs to help us analyse which REIT might be worth investing in.
a) Singapore retail malls exposure
SPH REIT has the highest exposure to the Singapore retail malls, through its three main assets namely Paragon Shopping Centre, Clementi Mall and The Rail Mall.
MCT and Suntec REIT have been diversifying their exposure over the years through a series of acquisitions and have lower concentration of Singapore retail exposure.
b) Tenant sales
Vivocity and Suntec have performed better in terms of recovery in tenants sales. This is likely due to the relatively strong catchment of the local population and essential trades of the tenants in Vivocity and Suntec City Mall.
On the other hand, Paragon is more dependent on tourists, and its tenants are also more geared towards luxury items. trades
c) Gearing Ratio
Suntec REIT has the highest gearing ratio among the 3 REITs at 43.7%, as it has been acquiring overseas office assets recently to diversify away from Singapore. Currently Suntec City still accounts for 41% of Suntec REIT’s revenue. On the other hand, the gearing ratio of MCT and SPH REIT are lower at 34.1% and 30.5% respectively.
d) Dividend Yield
There is no major differences between the dividend yields of the 3 REITs, with dividend yield ranging from 5.4% – 5.7%
What would Beansprout do?
- In terms of tenant sales, Vivocity and Suntec are faring better than Paragon. However, SPH REIT could be a REIT to look at if one wants to gain exposure to a recovery in tourist arrivals in Singapore.
- MCT and SPH REIT have lower gearing compared to Suntec REIT.
- The dividend yields for the 3 REITs are broadly similar.
Happy retail therapy and investing!