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Thursday July 18th, 2024

Sri Lanka’s John Keells Holdings postpones Crescat refurbishment on Dec sales

ECONOMYNEXT- Sri Lanka’s John Keells Holdings (JKH) has decided to postpone the decision to refurbish the Crescat shopping mall due to rising sales in the ongoing Christmas and New Year season, a top official said.

“After the April attacks the sales of the shops in the mall fell but we can see an increase in sales in this month due to the Christmas season,” Property Group President Suresh Rajendra said.

He said 10 percent of shops in the mall closed following the consumer spending squeeze following the Easter Sunday attacks. One of the bombings took place next door to Crescat, at the JKH hotel Cinnamon Grand.

“The remaining clients struggled with their sales until November,” Rajendra said.

JKH had accommodated its clients by waiving off rental prices for three months and discounting rates until November.

Rajendra said the group had planned to close the mall in February for refurbishments, but due to an expected growth in sales in Christmas and New Year, the renovations have been postponed until a fresh decision is taken.

The new government which came into power in November has introduced widespread tax cuts, putting more cash in the hands of the consumer in a bid to stimulate stagnant growth through consumption.

Some Crescat occupants had been surprised at JKH’s decision to ask them to vacate the premises in 3-months for renovations, as they were earlier told that they could continue business while refurbishments continued, the local English newspaper Daily Mirror reported.

As the mall is over 20-years old, it is a matter of when, not if, to refurbish, Rajendra said.

Rajendra said tenders have been called to refurbish the mall, which is expected to last six months once it begins.

As sales have normalized, rentals have been brought back to normal levels, he said.

“We plan to re-position all the shops because we want to compete with the new malls in the country. We do not plan to remain in the same position as we are now after the refurbishment.”

He said the Crescat mall is 60,000 square feet space that cannot compete with newer malls that have multiples more in shopping space.

“We have like a one fifth of what other malls have. So we want to manage that place to the fullest”

He further said that there is no guarantee for the shop owners in the Crescat mall presently, will get a place after the re-opening.

“If anyone wants to have a space in the new Crescat they will have to re-negotiate with the Crescat Management.” Rajendra said. (Colombo/ Dec17/ 2019)

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Sri Lanka to conduct threat assessments for presidential candidates

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s President Ranil Wickremesinghe has submitted a cabinet paper proposing security measures for presidential candidates and former presidents, following the recent attack on former US President Donald Trump during a campaign rally in the USA.

“This proposal suggests the appointment of a committee to conduct threat assessments and provide necessary security for Presidential candidates as well as former Presidents,” a statement from his media division said.

The committee will include the Secretary of the Ministry of Public Security as Chair, the Chief of Defence Staff, the Inspector General of Police, the Chief of National Intelligence, and the Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police/Elections.

A Deputy Inspector General of Police will be appointed to oversee all security arrangements.

The committee and the designated officer will work closely with the Election Commission to ensure seamless coordination of security arrangements, the PMD said.

After today, July 17, Sri Lanka’s Election Committee is empowered to announce a date for the presidential polls due to be held this year.

Minister of Foreign Affairs M U M Ali Sabry has said the election will be held on October 5 or 12.

Members of the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) have said that the government should be accountable for the security of Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa, the SJB’s presidential candidate. (Colombo/Jul17/2024)

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Sri Lanka rupee closes flat at 303.80/304.00 to US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed almost flat at 303.80/304.00 to the US dollar on Wednesday, from 303.70/304.00 to the US dollar on Tuesday, dealers said, while bond yields were down.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2026 closed at 10.60/75 percent, down from 10.82/92 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2027 closed at 11.60/38 percent, down from 11.65/75 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.05.2028 closed at 11.72/78 percent, down from 11.80/90 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2029 closed at 12.05/10 percent, down from 12.05/20 percent. (Colombo/Jul17/2024)

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Sri Lanka stocks close down, John Keells, Hemas, Hayleys push turnover

ECONOMYNEXT – The Colombo Stock Exchange closed down on Wednesday, data on its site showed.

The broader All Share Index closed down 0.41 percent, or 48.44 points, at 11,830; while the more liquid S&P SL20 Index closed down 0.52 percent, or 17.91 points, at 3,456.

Turnover was 1.2 million. A big part of this (Rs597mn) came from John Keells Holdings Plc (down at 194.25).

“There was foreign buying interest on John Keells and Hemas,” Softlogic Stockbrokers said.

“We saw foreign interest in selective counters persist.”

Hemas Holdings Plc contributed Rs143mn to the turnover, and the share closed down at 81.10.

Hayleys Plc contributed Rs156mn to the turnover, and the share closed up at 101.50.

The three crossings made up 67 percent of the turnover.

The capital goods counters, with all the bluechips, was the leading sector contributing to the day’s turnover.

With the exception of Hayleys and a couple of other companies, the counter saw most stocks close down or flat.

Sentiment around the banking counters also remained negative.

“The volatility in investor sentiments persisted. There are a lot of spectators in the market over the last few weeks, despite some positive news coming in.”

Treasury bill and bond rates have also dropped.

The top contributors to the ASPI were Melstacorp Plc (up at 86.00), SMB Finance Plc (up at 0.70), and TeeJay Lanka Plc (up at 40.00).

There was a net foreign inflow of 392 million. (Colombo/Jul17/2024)

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