One of the best-known retail centres from Shanghai’s 1930s heyday may soon be pulling China’s post-millennial shoppers back to what was once China’s hippest retail centre. As part of a revival of a heritage department store on Shanghai’s historic East Nanjng Road, Pradera Retail Asia officially opened a themed area targeting young customers at its flagship mall Mosaic Shanghai on the walking street in Huangpu district last week, according to a statement by the retail asset manager.
Dubbed M-Square, the youth-themed lifestyle area inside what was once the city’s Yong An (Wing On) department store, targets young patrons through a unique collection of niche cosmetic and lifestyle offerings. Located on the ground floor of Mosaic Shanghai, the square features cosmetics, F&B and accessories brands popular among young consumers, including Korean cosmetic brand Too Cool For School, Taiwanese bubble tea store Bu’er Tea, coloured contact lens shop Sweet Color, fragrance store Scent Boutique, fashion eyewear brand Rebel Without A Clause, as well as coffee shop 72 Now.
“We are thrilled to celebrate the official launch of M-Square in Mosaic Shanghai,” said Rhys Evans, Head of Asset Management at the company in a statement. “It further strengthens our aim of establishing Mosaic Shanghai as the most desirable destination for young locals and visitors. And this is just the first step toward our various offerings here at Mosaic Shanghai.”
Creating Space for Millennials in a Historic Building
The fun-oriented shopping hub debuts as Pradera Retail Asia works to transform Mosaic Shanghai into a shopping, leisure and F&B destination for China’s fast-growing consumer class.
Originally opened in 1932, the former department store at 353 East Nanjing Lu was originally part of a cluster of western style retail emporiums that made what is now the East Nanjing Lu walking street famous at the “Fifth Avenue” of China. Now with the 40,270 square metre (433,463 square foot) mall in Huangpu district accessible via Metro Lines 2 and 10, and pedestrian traffic on the rise in the traditional commercial strip, Pradera is investing in upgrading the historically listed building.
The seven-storey shopping centre is currently undergoing a comprehensive business upgrade to lure young customers. Late last year Pradera reached agreement with Merlin Entertainments to open the Shanghai Dungeon, a local version of the Madame Tussaud’s operators London Dungeon attraction in Mosaic Shanghai later this year. Before that entertainment centre rolls out, the mall expects to welcome an upgrade and reopening of sports casual brand FILA’s first Asian flagship store during April of this year.
European Mall Maker Brings Its Game to China
Pradera’s Shanghai efforts are an offshoot of lessons that the retail specialist’s London-based parent has learned in hosting some 2,900 tenants in its portfolio of 59 properties across European markets including the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Turkey.
The Asia-focused branch was established in 2016 as a joint venture between Pradera and a Hong Kong-based subsidiary of Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (MIRA).
Over the past two years, the joint venture mall manager has taken control of four retail properties in China under the Mosaic with properties in Qingdao, Xi’an and Chongqing complementing its Shanghai presence. Altogether the two year old firm now takes care of a total leasing area of 200,000 square metres (2.2 million square feet) on the mainland, with more than 13 million square metres under management globally.
Mall Operators Take Aim at Mainland Youth
Pradera’s Nanjing Road initiative comes as mall operators in China’s commercial hub step up efforts to capture the hearts, and spending power, of a post-millennial generation that has grown up on ecommerce.
Tech giant Tencent opened its first “We Life” unmanned pop-up store in China Resources Land’s Mix-C Shanghai mall last month, reportedly attracting 30,000 customers in just two days. And just last week Hong Kong-based New World Development’s K11 Art Mall in Shanghai unveiled a Valentine’s season campaign which transformed the mall to pink.