Page One next bookstore to close in S'pore?

Elena Torrijos

After Borders closed its two stores in Singapore recently, home-grown bookshop Page One could be next.

PageOne may shut down its VivoCity branch in March next year because of losses even as it has scheduled to open two stores in Beijing in the coming months, reported The Straits Times.

"The store has been making a loss of between $600,000 and $800,000 a year since it opened in 2006, but I want to continue as long as I can stomach the loss," said Page One chief executive Mark Tan.

The VivoCity lease has been extended from next month to March as the store's management negotiates for a lower rent.

Brick-and-mortar bookshops have struggled to stay afloat in recent times amid competition from online retailers and changes in consumer habits.

In Singapore, at least six bookstores have closed since 2009, including the flagship outlet of The Commercial Press, the city-state's oldest Chinese bookshop.

This was though local retail sales of books, newspapers and stationery rose 17 per cent in 2009 from two years before, based on the latest figures of the Singapore Department of Statistics.

Tan pointed out that although Page One's book sales in Singapore have grown by a single-digit rate each year, income has been destroyed by increasing rents.

In May, bookstore chain MPH chose not to renew its least at Novena Square because it could not match the rental offer made by prospective food and beverage tenants which was double the store's original rent, the same paper reported.