Store for “penny pinchers” opens at Gulf City

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Gulf City Mall, in San Fernando. – Lincoln Holder

AT a time when consumers are looking to penny-pinch, First Retail Inc. has opened a new variety store at Gulf City Mall, La Romaine, which managing director Omar Hadeed is promising, “will not break the bank.”

All items on sale, with the exception of some electronic items, will cost $100 and under.

Miniso, a global brand with over 6,000 stores in some 105 countries, recently opened its first branch in TT and in the English-speaking Caribbean, Hadeed told Newsday.

Customers stood in line waiting for the doors to open and rushed in after San Fernando mayor Robert Parris, joined by Hadeed and Gulf City managing director Seunarine Sanmook, cut the ribbon to officially open the store.

Hadeed said there are plans to open a second outlet at Trincity Mall in November and three more locations in the new year.

Parris congratulated Hadeed for choosing the South.

“Any major investment in our city is an enhancement to the lives of its citizens. We welcome all new business opportunities”

He told Hadeed he had every confidence this investment would yield positive rewards because of its eye-catching display and cost of items.

Miniso is managed through First Retail Inc which is responsible for bringing some of the world’s most recognisable retail brands to the Caribbean. These include Aeropostale, Aldo, Bath and Body Works, L’Occitane, Cole Haan, Skechers, Psycho Bunny and Victoria’s Secret.”

About their choice of location, Hadeed said it had to do with the customers’ response.

“I would say we have always launched between 75 to 80 per cent of our operation, including more than 15 international brands, in the South because the response is always the best.

“Customers in the South are very loyal to our brand.”

He said they anticipated a July opening, but shipping delays and issues with obtaining forex stalled their plans.

“We are now open and we already have products for the Christmas season – from stationery, electronics, health, beauty, travel, apparel, accessories and a lot of items affiliated with Marvel, Disney and Hello Kitty.”

Gulf City’s marketing manager Sarah Ragoonath said the mall was always open to new stores. She said Miniso was one of two new outlets opened on the same day. Supplement Shot, a health store operating on the mall’s second level, is the other.

Ragoonath said negotiations are continuing with other companies to establish outlets in the mall. She also said management is continuing with the upgrade of its façade to become more appealing and modern.

“Innovation is the key. We have international standards to meet and we have to make sure Gulf City, a leader in the industry remains at the top,” Ragoonath said.