John Little is Closing all Outlets in S’pore; Here’s What You Need to Know


If you’re a Singaporean, you’ll most likely have heard of John Little.

Whether you have your first date there, your first kiss there or have purchased your first formal clothing there, the oldest department store in Singapore has almost become an icon in Singapore, but have often been in the shadows of bigger and more atas department stores like Robinsons or Isetan.

However, after 174 years, it is finally going to close its shutters for good in December 2016, joining the likes of Yaohan and Sogo, and becoming part of our history as well.

It’s not too much of a surprise for John Little fans: a few months ago, the iconic John Little in Jurong Point, one of the shops that sort of defined Jurong Point for years, held a closing down sale, leaving the outlet in Plaza Singapura the only one standing.

Then, two days ago, we wrote about a closing down sale in Plaza Singapore’s John Little, and a day later, it was confirmed: John Little will be closing the Plaza Singapura outlet by the end of this year.

The closure was due to—you’ve guessed it right—strong competition from e-commerce. According to Robinson Group, which manages John Little, the decision to close it was made after “after evaluating the relevancy and sustainability of the John Little brick-and-mortar business.”

John Little was established by John M. Little in 1845 in Singapore. It survived WWII, although it took a year for it to re-open after the end of the Japanese occupation. In 1955, it was acquired by Robinson Group, the current owner of the store.

The impending closure of the department store hasn’t been exactly sudden: last year, two stores (one in Marina Square and one in Tiong Babru Plaza) closed within months due to lack of business.

The staff affected will be deployed in other businesses in the group.

However, it might not be the end of this memories-filled department store: according to Robinson Group, it will “evolve as a brand into a pop up format, which is in line with the global trend for retail businesses.”

There haven’t been more details about this “pop up format”, but let’s just hope it’s even cheaper shirts and bags, because that’s what John Little is all about, right?

Featured Image: Inside Retail Asia

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