Orchard Road in Singapore is the traditional shopping mecca for this city state. While most of the top fashion brands like Prada, Dior, Chanel, Burberry, Paul Smith, Abercrombie & Fitch and H&M have monobrand stores on Orchard Road, the street has long been anchored by several large department stores. Here we profile the main Orchard Road department stores and their chief distinguishing characteristics.
Japanese-owned Takashimaya Department Store (“Taka’s”) is perhaps the Orchard Road department store with the largest foot traffic and, at 375,000 square feet, the largest floor space of the bunch.
The store occupies one of the twin towers of the Ngee Ann City shopping centre, one of the most imposing structures on Orchard Road with an enviable collection of luxury boutiques including Chanel, Tiffany, Dior, Cartier, La Duree, etc. The red granite buildings evoke the image of a mausoleum, paying homage to Orchard Road’s former use as a cemetary. Ngee Ann City also features a spacious central courtyard (the semi-circular “Civic Plaza”), a wide sidewalk, and an indoor atrium (“Takashimaya Square”).
Takashimaya operates as a department store in its own right and also offers dedicated areas for luxury brands such as Ferragamo, Tod’s, Dior, etc. which are within the boundaries of the department store.
C.K. Tang (“TANGS”) is the pride of Singapore department stores. Locally owned and operated since 1932, it occupies a prime location at the corner of Orchard and Scotts Roads, on the same corner as the Marriott Hotel (also developed by C.K. Tang).
The green-tiled roof and facade were designed to emulate the Imperial Palace of the Forbidden City in Beijing. This, TANGS’ flagship store, comprises a retail area of approximately 160,000 square feet.
TANGS also has a branch at the VivoCity Shopping Centre (85,000 square feet) and has expanded to Malaysia too.
TANGS is also arguably the farthest along of all the old-school Orchard Road department stores in terms of its online presence. They have an active fashion and lifestyle blog, a mobile app, and are also active on social media (Facebook – 95000 followers, Instagram – 4400 followers).
Japanese-owned Isetan has 6 branches in Singapore, including 2 on the Orchard Road strip.
Their traditional clientele is somewhat older, and their stores in Orchard Road are somewhat less prominent than rivals such as Tangs and Takashimaya.
Isetan’s flagship location is in Shaw House. Located at the prime crossroads of Orchard and Scotts Roads, Shaw House completed extensive renovations at the end of 2014. Isetan operates a large and very popular supermarket in the basement.
The company is also in the process of reassessing its Wisma Atria location, with the intent of leasing out the entire space to other retailers and taking on merely a facilities-management role.
Founded in Singapore in 1858, Robinsons (originally, Spicer & Robinson) has 3 branches of its eponymous department store brand in Singapore. The newest and most prominent Robinsons store is in The Heeren mall on Orchard Road, opened in 2013 and comprising 180,000 square feet. The Robinsons store in Raffles City is also quite central and comprises 85,000 square feet.
In addition to Robinsons department store, the company operates the John Little and Marks & Spencer brands in Singapore.
Robinsons is now owned by the Dubai-based Al-Futtaim Group, a global retail giant with over 20,000 employees.
Locally-owned METRO has been in business since 1957 and operates 5 branches throughout Singapore, including 2 on Orchard Road. Their flagship is in the Paragon Shopping Mall and their second location on Orchard is in The Centrepoint Mall, a space comprising 130,000 square feet which the company took over from Robinsons in 2014.
METRO has a focus on soft goods and has more of an orientation towards local shoppers with a value orientation.