Gaming insights Gaming

Cotai retail still stuck in the past

Written by Ben Blaschke

With the Grand Opening of Galaxy Phase II and Broadway Macau last week – the first of eight new properties to open in Cotai between now and late 2017 – we’ve heard a lot about the need for greater focus on mass market customers.

Galaxy’s new gaming areas certainly boast a mass market bent, while the other concessionaires have been quick to talk up the non-gaming offerings they hope will lure a new audience.

But there seems to be one glaring oversight – retail. If mass market customers are the way of the future and attracting them depends upon providing facilities they want to use, why are the operators still planning for their upcoming retail areas to be luxury?

Melco-Crown’s Studio City, the next property due to open in Cotai later this year, are saying “The sophisticated and glamorous mix of the hottest fashion labels in the world today has been handpicked to delight Studio City’s discerning, fashion-conscious shopper.”

The Parisian, from Sands China, says, “Shoppes at Parisian features the latest designs from an exclusive selection of the world’s most celebrated fashion designers, as well as up-and-coming labels that remain elusively ahead of the latest trends. The target is a young, affluent demographic with a keen eye for the cutting edge in fashion and the discretionary income to acquire pieces that reflect their prosperity.” From Wynn, “Wynn Palace will feature … spa and salon, luxury retail and fine dining.”

And of Lisboa Palace, SJM explains, “Guests will be able to enjoy fine dining at a number of Michelin-starred restaurants and luxury shopping at a themed retail mall.”

MGM have yet to release any details of their retail space.

If the nature of the market is moving away from the VIP market and towards mass market – and the operators are genuinely adjusting their offerings in order to attract them – surely they should also be providing retail outlets these mass market customers can actually afford.

Or is there still an underlying belief among the operators that China’s anti-corruption crackdown can’t last forever? That the VIP customers will eventually return?

Food for thought.