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CO-WRITTEN / PARTNER | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Raising the travel retail experience in Myanmar

SMI developed a proposal covering more than 65,000sqft of retail space at the Yangon Int’l Airport.

Within a short span of time, Singapore mainboard-listed company Singapore Myanmar Investco Limited SMI has built up a diversified retail and consumer-centric portfolio in this last frontier market in Asia. Notably, to capitalise on the growth of travel within the Asia region, SMI developed an ambitious proposal covering more than 65,000 square feet of duty-free retail space at the brand-new terminal at Yangon International Airport. Although faced with strong competition from at least four international retail travel companies, SMI was awarded the entire retail space with an impactful and high quality design layout to bring a completely new consumer and retail experience for travellers.

Leveraging on market knowledge
Faced with daunting deadlines as the new terminal was being completed, SMI’s president and CEO, Mark Bedingham, leveraged on his extensive experience and networks to attract more than 25 international retail brands (including Coach, Pandora, Swarovski, Tumi, Kinokuniya, amongst others) and F&B operators (such as Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf) to make their maiden foray in Myanmar.

Led by SMI’s operations director, Satheeish Subramaniam, the Group was able to ensure that all the duty-free stores were completed on schedule to welcome travellers to the new terminal.
Since then, SMI’s local market knowledge and operating experience in Myanmar has been pivotal in bringing more international brands into the domestic Myanmar market, collaborating with leading mall developers in Myanmar to introduce international fashion, lifestyle and cosmetics brands as well as showcase new F&B concepts such as Crystal Jade, Ippudo, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, and Jones the Grocer.

In addition, SMI’s other key business activities, namely Europcar car rental and cold storage logistics, continue to offer new value propositions to different customer segments.
Winning the Luxury Retail category in the SBR Listed Companies Awards 2018 further reaffirms SMI’s strong strides in Myanmar and it goes to show that a relatively small Singapore company, driven by ambition and perseverance, can achieve something big in a challenging pioneer market.

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