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Leisure-Retail Fusion Experience Set to Woo Shanghai Shoppers

Can the reinvented Joy City mall win back consumers in the ever-competitive Shanghai shopping market?

Photo: Big wheel appeal: Will leisure prove uplifting for retailers? (Xinhua News Agency)
Big wheel appeal: Will leisure prove uplifting for retailers?
Photo: Big wheel appeal: Will leisure prove uplifting for retailers? (Xinhua News Agency)
Big wheel appeal: Will leisure prove uplifting for retailers?

With Shanghai's retail sector proving ever more competitive, many outlets are struggling to achieve stand out in this increasingly cluttered market. One shopping mall, however, believes its recent upgrade will give it something of an edge, allowing it to claw back both retail customers and leisure users.

The mall in question, Shanghai Joy City, first opened its doors five years ago, but has now relaunched with an entirely new business and branding profile. In addition to upgrading its retail facilities, the mall has now invested in a new experiential leisure format, a development it believes will woo a new generation of consumers. The most visible sign of its reinvention is a rooftop-mounted Ferris wheel, said to be a first for a mainland shopping mall.

Managed and developed by the China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corporation (COFCO), the mall is set in Shanghai's Zhabei District. Its new format sees it now explicitly targetting middle-class consumers in the 18-35 age group. To this end, the mall now has a focus on some 450 global brands, all chosen for their appeal to this particular demographic.

Among the selected brands are many globally renowned names, including Michael Kors, Kate Spade, Anteprima Wirebag, Marimekko and Love Moschino. Much of this premium merchandise is available through the mall's array of distinctly chic flagship stores. As well as these high-profile outlets, the mall is also home to a number of contemporary art venues and stylish restaurants, including new concept stores created by several of Shanghai's leading catering brands.

Overall, some 17 brands, across a variety of sectors, are said to be making their Shanghai debuts at the mall. These include Isetan Beauty, Shel'tter, Nordic by Nature, Aranzi Café, Sense 8 Cantonese Cuisine, Meiyuan Chunxiao (Miss Mei) restaurant, Sisyphe Bookstore and Pina Bausch. In terms of flagship stores, the lead here has been taken by Shel'tter, Snidel, Muji, O'blu and Aline de rose. Typically, these stores offer clothing, shoes and accessories, along with light meals and coffee, with some even boasting florist facilities.

Aside from its enhanced retail offer, the mall's management team also has high hopes of the More Fun 166 rooftop commercial complex. Located on the eighth and ninth floors of the mall's north wing, the complex stretches across some 20,000 square metres and is said to be the only rooftop space of its kind in Shanghai. The space is divided into three themed areas: the Handmade Artisan Street, Neon Light Street and Weiyang Street ("The Night is Still Young Street"). On the first of these three thoroughfares, visitors can witness a variety of craftsmen showcasing their traditional skills, including bakers, carpenters, jewellery makers and handmade leather artists.

Moving on to Neon Light Street, and visitors have the choice of a number of restaurants and izakayas (Japanese wine bars), with each having its own unique brand offer. Here, full meals are on offer, as well as a series of light snacks. A leisurely evening can then be concluded on Weiyang Street. As with Neon Light Street, the establishments here stay open until 2am, comprising a range of themed bars and intimate restaurants.

Overall, the management of the mall remains optimistic that its fusion of leisure and retail opportunities will strike a real chord with Shanghai consumers. This would see it not only achieve real stand-out amid the city's crowded retail landscape, but also see it score highly against the growing allure of many of the mainland's highly-successful e-commerce sites.

Kelly Dai, Shanghai Office

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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