updated 3 Feb 2013, 16:53
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Sun, Jul 01, 2012
The New Paper
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NewUrbanMale closes all outlets
by Amanda Phua and Clement Yap

NINE years ago, local casual wear brand NewUrbanMale dipped its toes into the retail industry.

Its first store at The Heeren drew shoppers who loved its slippers and cheeky slogan T-shirts.

In 2009, tees that carried beauty queen Ris Low’s debatably famous phrase “Boomz” sold quickly.

But where are they now?

The New Paper visited four locations where the stores had been to find that new shops have taken over. The Heeren is currently closed for renovations.

When asked about the closure of all his shops, company director Chua Shenzi (pictured above) said: “We have our plans for the future, but I am unable to comment on anything further at the moment.”

In a 2010 interview with The Straits Times, Mr Chua said he had taken a $500,000 loan in 2007. He added that he lost about $750,000 because of the Asian financial crisis and also because he lost distributorship of the cult Brazilian slipper brand Havaianas to a Filipino distributor.

Havaianas propelled the store to popularity when it first opened. NewUrbanMale introduced the comfy flip-flops to Singapore and most of Asia when it opened in 2003.

Together with co-directors James Kwek and Calvin Soh, Mr Chua was featured in The Straits Times 2007 Annual Power List.

Last year, Mr Chua revealed that he closed 15 of his 17 outlets. He had shops in malls like VivoCity, Citylink and Velocity.

He added that he closed the shops to consolidate its business.

Mr Chua was looking to expand his business in Asia, and opened four stores in Taiwan, Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia last year.

In the same interview, he said the local brand will launch a new clothing line and will include stationery in its merchandise line.

Meanwhile, sales assistants at shops beside the old NewUrbanMale outlets in Wheelock Place and The Cathay said the stores closed more than a year ago.

A sales assistant at a retail store next to the Cathay Cineleisure Orchard branch of NewUrban- Male said the outlet closed two weeks ago.

Employees of Alcoholiday, which took over the shop space, said their store opened last Friday.


A Cathay spokesman said: “The lease for NewUrbanMale at Cathay Cineleisure Orchard had expired in May 2012. Throughout the lease period, NewUrbanMale has always paid their rent on time.”

A check of the Accounting & Corporate Regulatory Authority of Singapore’s website showed that the company’s business licence has been terminated.

But there is an active business licence for another company under the same name. It is registered to a different address.

Meanwhile, consumers who posted on the company’s Facebook page asking if the brand was still in business have not received any replies.

The company celebrated its ninth anniversary early this month with a storewide 50 per cent discount.

Mr Yeap Jun Rong, 20, said he patronised the store when there were one-for-one promotions. He added: “However, once the promotion ended, I found them too expensive and stopped shopping there.”

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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