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Robinsons, Singapore’s grande dame of department stores, closes its doors


By Shawn Lim, Reporter, Asia Pacific

October 30, 2020 | 3 min read

Singapore-based Robinsons department store, which has been around for more than 160 years, is shutting up its remaining stores in the country as it undergoes liquidation.


Robinsons, Singapore’s grand old dame of department stores, closes its doors

The department store was acquired by Al Futtaim Group in 2008 and has been on a digital transformation drive. It launched its first e-commerce store in 2016.

However, the Covid-19 pandemic has further exacerbated weak demand at its over 271,000 sq. ft. in retail space in two locations in Singapore, having suffered losses for at least the last six years from shrinking sales, according to The Business Times.

"We regret this outcome today. Despite recent challenges in the industry, the Robinsons team continued to pursue the success of the brand. However, the changing consumer landscape makes it difficult for us to succeed over the long term and the Covid-19 pandemic has further exacerbated our challenges,” said Danny Lim, Robinsons' senior general manager.

"We have enjoyed success over the years, and it has been an honour for Robinsons to serve the Singapore market. I am grateful for the dedication of our team, and for the support shown by our customers over the years.

What happened at Robinsons?

Lim previously told The Drum it worked with Capillary Technologies to integrate its retail experience and loyalty engagement strategies into a mobile app to bring the Robinsons experience to consumers simply through the touch of their smartphone.

• The two parties had also been working to utilise consumer data gathered online to improve a customer’s offline shopping experience through actionable and personalised insights about their shopping habits and preferences.

• The Robinsons mobile app’s omnichannel journey consists of two main focus areas, consumer acquisition and retention. The features of the app include user registration and integration through social media channels, full product information catalogue, visibility on loyalty points amount with an expiry date, a fully comprehensive rewards catalogue and voucher redemption on the app.

• However, this wasn’t enough to boost sales. In 2018, it sank $54.4 million into the red after revenue fell to $153.8 million. At its high, turnover was $257.3 million in 2014.

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