Shopping for Stocks (Singapore Style)

Every time I am in a shopping mall, I will keep my eyes open and look at the ‘happening’ retail or F&B outlets and think to myself if these are listed companies (read here). After these trips I will try to google for the outlet brand names and see if there is an Investor Relations section in their websites. (Ok, lame excuse for going to retail malls and yes, what a way to spend my long weekend….:p)

However, before you continue reading, please note that in terms of shopping, I am a complete outsider / lay person. My wife does a better job at this than me.

“If you like the store, chances are you’ll love the stock.” Peter Lynch

“In a retail company or a restaurant chain, the growth that propels earnings and the stock price comes mainly from expansion. As long as the same-store sales are on the increase (these numbers are shown in annual and quarterly reports), the company is not crippled by excessive debt, and it is following its expansion plans as described to shareholders in its reports, it usually pays to stick with the stock.” Peter Lynch

The following shops caught my eye. Unless you have been living in a cave for the past few years or months, you would have probably spotted these brands too (which have been sprouting up almost everywhere in Singapore, even the heartland malls, like pimples on a teenager’s face).


Honor Roll

Innisfree: A natural brand that shares the benefits of nature from the pristine island of Jeju allowing for vibrant beauty and pursues an eco-friendly green life to preserve the balance of nature. (click here)

Products: Aroma oil, Body cleanser, Body lotion, Cologne, Makeup, Mask, Perfume, Skincare

Locations of outlets (6 outlets):

  • Takashimaya S.C. #B2-34/35
  • Plaza Singapura #01-63/ 64
  • Bugis Junction #01-109/110
  • Jem #02-36
  • Tampines Mall #01-35/36/37
  • VivoCity #B1-02

It has only opened its first store in Takashimaya in Nov 2013 (read here), in less than 2 years, opened another five!

Lee Min Ho in Singapore for innisfree His beauty secret revealed B3

It has been a hit with my wife (obviously Innisfree global ambassador Lee Min Ho helped in a big way). The products are significantly cheaper than what she is using (eg. Kiehl’s, SKII etc), and their natural & clean image has been a big selling point. My son likes to play with the volcanic rocks while I scan the high shopper traffic.

Innisfree is a South Korean cosmetics brand owned by Amore Pacific. AmorePacific was founded in 2006 is one of the leading cosmetic companies in South Korea. It has provided global customers with a total package of beauty and health solutions through 30 brands spanning beauty, household, and healthcare products. AmorePacific [090430] is listed on the Korean Stock Exhange (KOSPI), and has a market capitalization of KRW 28.11T.



Smiggle: It is an Australian based retail store chain that sells stationery and related accessories. It was founded in Melbourne by Stephen Meurs and Peter Pausewang in 2003 and acquired by the Just Group in July 2007. (click here)

Products:  stationery and storage ideas

Locations of Outlets (21 outlets – click here):

  • #01-19/20 TANGLIN MALL,
  • #B2-55, ION ORCHARD,
  • #B1-40 WISMA ATRIA,
  • SHOP 01-29 SOMERSET 313,
  • #02-17/18 VIVO CITY,

In April 2011, Smiggle expanded into Singapore with its first shop opening in Plaza Singapura. The last time I checked there are 21 stores in Singapore.


We like the stores for their funky, bright, cheerful and colourful products and simple stationery. We recently bought a bag for our son there.

I noticed a lot of families visiting this store, and their products seem to be a hit with school going young kids (or young at heart adults – Grown-ups have a good excuse to shop there too with its range of passport covers, thumb drives and wallets).

Smiggle is under the Just Group, a leading Australasian fashion and apparel retailer. Unfortunately if you go to Just Group website, you will find the following in the Shareholder Information Section:

On 8 August 2008, Premier Investments obtained a controlling interest in the shares of Just Group Limited following an off-market takeover offer for all of the Group shares that commenced on 31 March 2008. Just Group Limited was removed from the Official ASX List on 22 September 2008 and became a non listed public company. (read here)

Oh well… (search ended prematurely to say the least)…


Typo: It is a one stop concept store filled with supercool gift ideas, fashionable stationery, awesome room-bling and other irresistible products. Another stationery shop, but this store caters to teenagers – adults. (click here)

Products: Pens, Notepads, Gift Wrap, Stationery, Wall Art, Decals, Frames, Pencil Cases, Laptop, Bags, etc

Locations of Outlets (8 outlets- click here):

  • #01-53/53A Bugis Junction
  • B1-54/61 Wisma Atria Shopping Centre
  • #01-18 313@Somerset
  • #02-22 Westgate
  • #B1-20/21 Amk Hub
  • Shop 02-39 Vivo City
  • 370 Alexander Road (Anchor Point Shopping Centre)
  • Shop 3 – 12 Clementi Mall
    typo-wisma-atria-cfe4d9e2The stores seem to have a lot of foot traffic (read here). For people who like fun, quirky, supercool gift ideas, fashionable stationery, awesome room-bling, this is the place to be. I reckon we bought a couple of items to decorate our house from here.

So is Typo a listed company? A quick search leads me to Cotton On (read here). Cotton On operates Typo. Cotton On is an Australian retail chain, known for its fast-fashion clothing for men, women, teenagers and children. It has almost 1200 stores in 12 countries and employs 17,000 staff in Australia and internationally.

Cotton On was established by Nigel Austin in Geelong, Australia, at the time it only sold women’s clothing. Since January 2006, it had expanded with Cotton On Body and Cotton On Kids, in December 2007 it expanded to Typo (stationery and gifts), and also Rubi Shoes in February 2008.

However Cotton On is privately own…..(read here) Oh well…


Tim Ho Wan: Ok finally about F&B. I always notice that there are long queues outside the outlets (Tim Ho Wan has gained a strong following over the years and long queues are a common sight at the restaurants). My wife likes the dim sum there, but we seldom have the patience to wait for seats (read here, here and here). And oh yes, Strictly no reservations. Seating is on a first-come first-served basis, and to cope with the crowd, they have implemented a queue system which allows patrons to get a queue number first, and go shopping should the waiting time be too long – an sms notification will be sent when the table is ready.

It is supposedly the cheapest 1 Michelin Star dim sum restaurant from Hong Kong and immensely popular (read here and here).

A key tradition in Tim Ho Wan’s outlets here is that there are always three dishes which are exclusively available at each outlet, and these dishes get rotated around every 2-3 months.

When Tim Ho Wan opened its first outlet at Plaza Singapura, hundreds of people from all over Singapore formed 3 hour queues.

What it sells: Dim Sum!!! :P….

Locations (5 outlets):

  • TimHoWan Plaza Singapura Dhoby Ghaut#01-29A/52
  • TimHoWan Hersing Centre Toa Payoh #02-02
  • TimHoWan Bedok Mall #B1-51/52
  • TimHoWan Westgate Jurong East #01-13/14
  • TimHoWan Aperia Kallang #01-01/02/03

Tim Ho Wan opened its first overseas outlet in the new atrium wing of Plaza Singapura on 10 April 2013. In just under a year, Tim Ho Wan had also opened another 3 outlets in Toa Payoh, Bedok Mall and Westgate.timhowansg8

After the initial fad fade off slightly, we managed to try the dim sums at the West Gate outlet. Overall I felt that the standards are good and not too pricey.

(Read here) To quote: Supporters of Tim Ho Wan swear by the awesome BBQ pork buns and their affordable dim sum. At the same time, there are naysayers who feel that it is over-rated and not worth the time.

Tim Ho Wan got famous because it offered good dim sum at very cheap prices – when it first started, you could get a very satisfying meal for around HK$50-80 (S$9-13) per person. However, with the high rental in Singapore – as with its branch at IFC Hong Kong – the dim sum here is slightly pricier. Most of the items are priced around $4-5.50 per basket. To be fair, they are still comparable with Singapore’s average; most dim sum restaurants in Singapore are priced at that range as well.

Tim Ho Wan is run by Mak Kwai Pui. According to the Singapore Business Times (read here), Mak was persuaded to franchise the operations of the dim sum eatery by a long-time customer and Hong Kong television producer, Robert Chua.

The franchise for South-east Asia is owned by Singapore public listed company, Hersing Corporation, which is run by Robert Chua’s brother, Harry. In Singapore, they have opened five outlets in total.

However, as of October 3, 2012, Hersing Corp. Ltd. was taken private.

Oh well… again! Sucks…


NamNam Noodle Bar: NamNam Noodle Bar was formed in 2011 in partnership with Owner Chef Nam Quoc Nguyen to present iconic street favourites of Vietnam in a modern, vibrant setting.


Locations (4 outlets):

  • #B1-46/47 Raffles City,
  • Wheelock Place #B2-02
  • Suntec City #B1-131
  • Plaza Singapura #01-55

Nam Nam first opened at Raffles City Shopping Centre in late 2012. Within a short time span of less than a year, two other outlets have opened at Wheelock Place and Suntec City.


I find that the food is affordable and yummy. However since its opening in 2012, there seem to a spate of Vietnamese restaurants or outlets (in Food Courts) sprouting out in malls. It remains to be seen if this brand has a strong moat in this cut throat industry.

Nam Nam Noodle Bar (Nam Nam) belongs to the Les Amis Group (which includes the likes of Au Jardin, Bistro Du Vin, Canele and other restaurants). The group has 12 brands in Singapore and 5 restaurants in Hong Kong within its portfolio.

It is a privately held company. Oh well…




Honorable Mentions

The below mentioned brands are worth mentioning. However I do not like their products that much, and there isn’t an astonishing increase in the number of new stores opening.


Crate & Barrel: This brand has a long history (you can read about it here).

crate_and_barrel_orchard_gateway__emeraldProducts: A wide assortment of furniture, housewares, home decor and much more (rugs, cushions, bedroom, dining, living, home accessories, kitchen ware, etc).


  • Orchard Gateway
  • #04-21/22, #03-25, ION Orchard

Crate & Barrel opened its first Asian store in Singapore in January 2013, occupying two floors at Ion Orchard.

Crate and Barrel is a privately held company owned by the Otto Group of Hamburg, Germany, the second largest online retailer worldwide.


TOKYU HANDS: It sells high-quality and high-functional living ware, fancy made-in-Japan bags, convenient travel goods, the latest Japanese stationery, unique articles, topical beauty products, and tools and materials for DIY.

tokyu-hands-westgate-singapore-1Locations: In September 2014,  the first store which is 7,500 sq ft opened at Westgate in Jurong East. (read here). It opened its second store in Orchard Central basement 1 on 20 November 2014(read here)


Tokyu Hands is part of the Tokyu Group. The Tokyu Group of companies centers on the Tokyu Corporation railway company. Tokyu Coroporation is listed on the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange.


So have you come across any new popular retail or F&B outlets recently? Do let me know.

About apenquotes

Born in 1976. Married with 2 kids (a boy and a girl). A typical Singaporean living in a 4 room HDB flat. Check out my Facebook Page:
This entry was posted in Investing methodology. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s