This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily on December 16, 2019
KUALA LUMPUR: The shutters are coming down at Cold Storage in Section 14 — one of the oldest supermarkets in Petaling Jaya, Selangor. The last day of operations for the store located in Jaya Shopping Centre is Dec 31, 2019, staff at the store say.
Cold Storage, which has operated since the shopping centre was known as Jaya Supermarket, started a closing-down sale last Saturday, but the shelves were already practically empty by 5pm on the same day.
Cold Storage is operated by GCH Retail (M) Sdn Bhd. GCH also operates the Giant supermarket and hypermarket chain, the Mercato supermarkets and the gourmet grocer Jason’s Food Hall. GCH is a 70-30 partnership between Hong Kong-based Dairy Farm International Holdings Ltd and Syarikat Pesaka Antah Sdn Bhd, a company controlled by the Negeri Sembilan royal family.
According to Cold Storage’s website, the Cold Storage brand began operating in Malaysia in 1963. It also says there are 14 stores nationwide. However, store location data can only account for seven stores, including Cold Storage, Section 14, suggesting that there have been at least seven store closures over the years.
Based on The Edge Financial Daily’s tabulation, the number of store closures by GCH this year alone has reached 13, comprising Giant and Cold Storage stores. At its peak in 2014, GCH was operating 147 stores in Malaysia. Today, it has fewer than 100 supermarkets and hypermarkets.
The closures form part of GCH’s business reorganisation to better meet customer needs and to remain competitive. It is rebalancing its offerings to keep pace with customer preference, in line with what other retail businesses are doing in the region. It has refreshed its Giant stores and relaunched 30 of them this year.
Moreover, the retailer is expanding its convenience stores called the ShopSmart chain. It has approvals to open 500 ShopSmart stores over the next 10 years.
Based on the little available history of Jaya Supermarket online, the building that was once a landmark in Petaling Jaya was built in 1974. When it opened, it was the first shopping centre in Petaling Jaya. It is understood that Cold Storage used to operate a store in the building prior to 1980, though the exact year is unclear. Years later, this Cold Storage was repositioned as the Giant supermarket.
In 2006, the Jaya Supermarket building was bought by CIMB-Mapletree Real Estate Fund 1 for RM115 million. The building was demolished in 2009 and another RM285 million was spent to build the new seven-storey retail mall that is today called Jaya Shopping Centre. When it reopened in 2014, Cold Storage returned as a tenant. Today, the mall is owned by Mapletree Investments Pte Ltd.