BEAUTY IN THE FRIDGE

Robinsons to make a comeback as an online store on June 24 after its initial exit in S’pore

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Homegrown department store Robinsons announced today (June 10) that it’s making a comeback as an online store. This comes after the 163-year-old brand made its exit in Singapore in January this year.

The site (www.robinsons.com.sg) will go live on June 24, and is described by Robinsons as “a fully digital, state-of-the-art, vertically integrated online department store”.

The online department store will offer over 200 specially-curated brands — some familiar, some homegrown, some new-to-market. Customers can also look forward to collaborations that will debut exclusively on the new platform. 

Keen shoppers can now submit their email address online to register for early access and get dibs on exclusive special offers.

The newly-independent Robinsons Department Stores Online Pte Ltd will be headed by Jordan Prainito, the former Managing Director of Canningvale Australia, one of Australia’s fastest growing online businesses. 

I’m excited to be relaunching such an iconic brand. The brand has a rich history, and it strongly resonates with Singaporean and South East Asian customers. It just needs to be catapulted into the 21st century. The global pandemic has expedited the mainstream adoption of online shopping (so) we think now is the right time to pivot to a digital-first strategy.

Singaporeans are avid online shoppers (and) Robinsons Online will not disappoint. The website is easy to navigate, visually pleasing, perfectly curated, and will provide a trusted, safe and secure checkout process.

– Jordan Prainito, incoming Managing Director of Robinsons Singapore

The brand is also hiring Singaporeans to fill various positions across the business and has already hired two former Robinsons’ employees.

Jordan Prainito, incoming Managing Director of Robinsons Singapore
Jordan Prainito, incoming Managing Director of Robinsons Singapore / Image Credit: Australian Financial Review

According to the Australian Financial Review, Jordan first learnt about Robinsons from his days as a university student in Singapore and pitched the acquisition to his family, who had been looking at ways to expand its booming e-commerce business overseas.

Moving forward, Robinsons will be run as a separate entity to Melbourne-based Canningvale, which sells sheets, towels and homewares, mostly direct to consumers through its own website. 

The Australian Financial Review report also said that Canningvale plans to launch the online department store in Malaysia next year and possibly expand into other Southeast Asian countries “if all goes well”.

It had closed down after incurring heavy losses

The Business Times reported on October 30 that the retail giant would make its exit from Singapore for good, following losses in the recent years.

According to the report, the department store has been chalking up at least six years of losses amid declining revenues. Financial records show that the company recorded up to S$54.4 million in losses in 2018. 

Its topline also shrunk, and it generated S$153.8 million in revenue in 2018, down from the S$257.3 million it made in 2014.

Its stores in Malaysia also went through a similar liquidation process.

Featured Image Credit: InDesign Live Singapore

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