Tuesday, July 25, 2006
posted by PabloPabla at 11:26 am

After being in business for about 3 years in Kuala Lumpur, Debenhams (touted as "Britain's Favourite Departmental Store") is bidding farewell to Malaysians.

Opened amidst much fanfare, Debenhams Malaysia is situated in Berjaya Times Square, Kuala Lumpur and occupies approximately 100,000 square feet of retail space as its anchor tenant. Debenhams brought with them many of their designer labels including "J" by Jasper Conran, Anne Brooks and "Rocha" by John Rocha.

Debenhams Malaysia was opened through a franchise agreement with BTS Department Store Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Matrix International Bhd, a company controlled by tycoon Tan Sri Vincent Tan Chee Yioun. (source)

Business has not been good the past 3 years. During most of my window shopping there, I found Debenhams rather empty of customers. Perhaps some of the products were beyond the purchasing power of the average Malaysians. During the last year, I noticed that more and more Malaysian brands were being sold in Debenhams (which were not sold there during the initial year). The company managing the franchise was probably trying to "make ends meet" by selling well-known local brands such as Cheetah and Padini.

When I went to Debenhams on 23rd July, 2006, what greeted me was a sad state of affairs. What was once a posh looking departmental store now looks like a junkyard store. Most of the shelfs were empty and goods were strewn about in the sale boxes. Many items were put up for sale on massive discounts (up to 80%). I asked the cashier when will the store be closed and he mentioned end of this month.
My daughter enjoyed herself though. She was running about in the store (since there are not many items displayed...you can imagine the wide open space available) and took fascination with some children's books on display.

Thanks for coming to our shores Debenhams! At least we had a Debenhams experience in Kuala Lumpur.

I hope Marks & Spencer does not face the same fate. There are two stores here in Kuala Lumpur, one in One Utama and the other at KLCC and I am a fan of their white long-sleeve business shirts. You see, white long-sleeved shirts are a must for every litigation lawyer and Marks & Spencer carry a good range of such shirts beginning at RM69.00. Good quality, I must say.

At least the material (cotton) is thick enough that it does not show your chest (a more polite way of saying your nipples) when the sun shines on you!