JR East, Japan’s Largest Train Operator, Opening Shops In Thomson-East Coast Line MRT Stations

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JR East, a.k.a. East Japan Railway Company, will open retail shops in 27 of the 32 stations on the future Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL).

Assorted Japanese media (here and here) reported that Japan’s largest train operator will operate the retail space that may house Japanese tenants.

This is part of JR East’s overseas business expansion into retail spaces.
The company plans to open shops in three stations: Woodlands North, Woodlands and Woodlands South.

Japanese media said JR East is aiming to “cash in on purchasing power in Southeast Asia’s richest economy”.

JR East is the first Japanese railway operator to develop commercial facilities at metro stations in foreign countries.

TEL is slated to begin operations in phases from the end of 2019.
TEL will be operated by SMRT.

What’s the plan

In August, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) announced that it would be outsourcing the rail system’s non-fare business for the first time.
Tenders have been awarded for the operation of advertising and retail spaces along the future TEL.

The retail operator of the train line will be a three-way consortium comprising SMRT Experience, JR East Business Development SEA and Alphaplus Investments.

SMRT Experience and Alphaplus Investments ought to be familiar with Singaporeans.

SMRT Experience manages the retail and advertising spaces in train stations and bus interchanges run by transport operator SMRT.
Alphaplus Investments is an investment company of supermarket chain NTUC FairPrice.

The three companies will establish Stellar Singapore-Japan Retail in October to operate the retail spaces.

JR East Business Development SEA will hold a 35 percent stake.
For the next 16 years, starting from the end of 2019, the new operator will rent 5,000 sqm of floor space from LTA.

Woodlands station will have the largest shopping area at 1,570 sqm.

About TEL

The 43km, 32-station TEL will open in five stages between 2019 and 2024.

It will serve Changi Airport by about 2040.

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