The Shanghai New World, a landmark shopping mall on Nanjing Road W., is set to undergo its biggest facelift in more than two decades.
The iconic department store, which opened in 1995, will be closed from March 11 for the nine-month renovation project.
After reopening, it will feature animation shows, the world’s tallest indoor rock-climbing facility, an upgraded skating rink and other attractions targeting younger customers.
The department store near the western end of the Nanjing Road Pedestrian Mall had long been popular, especially during its festive sales on the New Year’s Eve.
However, it has been struggling in the face of new shopping trends in recent years.
Its traditional layout and shopping style mainly serves middle-aged, nostalgic customers.
“The target customers will be 10 years younger than now, especially young women and families,” said Yao Lu, deputy general manager.
The second, third and fourth floors of the 12-story mall will be devoted to luxury, international brands for women as well as clothes for girls, Yao said.
There will even be cooking classes.
Many debut and flagship stores will replace outdated brands.
Popular eateries, cultural venues and interactive events will be added.
“Customers will not only be able to shop but also take part in sports, culture and health activities,” Yao said.
The facelift will cost about 486 million yuan (US$72.3 million) with that expected to be recovered within five to eight years.
Despite a wide range of sales and discount campaigns, the shopping complex attracted few customers yesterday.
Nearly all the cosmetics brands on the ground floor and fashion brands upstairs were offering discounts of up to 70 percent off.
“I heard the department store is about to close, so I come to collect some memories as well as discounts,” said Zhao Jinfeng, 58, a local retiree.
Zhao said it was once fashionable to shop at New World.
“I purchased my most expensive skirt here about a decade ago,” Zhao said.
The department store initially opened in December 1995 and covered 70,000 square meters. It was expanded to 210,000 square meters in 2005.
Many of China’s first entertainment sites and attractions debuted there.
The Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum on the 10th floor was the first on the Chinese mainland when it opened in 2006.
The SEGA recreational arena on the eighth and ninth floors was one of China’s first large indoor game centers. Its skating rink was also the first of its kind in Shanghai.
But an increasing number of comprehensive shopping complexes have opened across the city in recent years.
According to the mall’s renovation blueprint, the world’s first indoor animation theme park featuring Japanese cartoon Naruto will open on the 11th floor.
It will cover 9,200 square meters and feature well-restored scenarios of the cartoon and high-tech entertainment facilities.
The wax museum will be redeveloped into a global flagship store with new attractions and more figures.
The world’s tallest indoor rock-climbing facility, at 55 meters, has been planned for the main hall.
The project will mainly attract professional and teenage climbers, Yao said.
A panoramic sightseeing section will be created between the fourth and ninth floors with popular eateries and reading clubs.
Curling and other ice events will be included in the skating rink on the sixth floor along with an “ice pub” and “ice house.”
From March 8 through 10, just before it closes, there will be major discounts at the mall.
On the opposite of Xizang Road M., the No.1 Shopping Center and Shimao International Plaza have both just reopened after facelifts.
Not far away, the Sincere Co, one of the four big Chinese-owned department stores on Nanjing Road, will soon be renovated, along with the Shanghai Fashion Store and Hualian Commercial Building.
The area looks set to become a hive of rampant consumerism, according to the Huangpu District government.