Patrons bid farewell as Robinsons closes flagship store at The Heeren
When the last customers left Robinsons' outlet at The Heeren at 2pm yesterday, the doors closed on the flagship store of an iconic 162-year-old department store.
The store was open to customers between 11am and 2pm for one final hurrah.
About 30 people were there when The Straits Times visited at 11.15am, some to pick through the remains - odds and ends, and fixtures available for sale on the first level of the retail institution, which occupies six storeys and 186,000 sq feet in the heart of Orchard Road.
Discounts of up to 99 per cent were applied to the remaining stock, a menagerie of things - hangers, mannequins and some armchairs.
Customers were there to reminisce and to bid farewell to a slice of Singapore that by all accounts appeared sturdy, fortified by its bricks and mortar.
Housewife Aileen Leng, 63, was there for one last visit.
"Robinsons' closure is especially sad because it's a local brand and part of our history."
Robinsons' last outlet at Raffles City will remain in operation for now. A spokesman said no date for its closure has been set yet.
The department store had announced on Oct 30 the closure of its last two outlets here, saying the decision to liquidate was prompted by a range of factors, including changing consumer tastes and cost pressures such as rent.
Mr Anthony Lim, 45, who worked as a store manager with Robinsons for 10 years at The Heeren outlet and at Raffles City, said: "Robinsons is a close-knit community. I thought they would at least keep The Heeren outlet which is the flagship store... with the most exclusive merchandise."
Currently a branch manager at a supermarket chain, Mr Lim said some of his former colleagues tell him they are at a loss about their the future.
"They haven't received their compensation package and for those at Raffles City, they don't know their last day," he added.
As for employees at The Heeren, a Robinsons spokesman confirmed that yesterday was their last day with the former retail institution.