There’s a new Giant among us
Writer: Lin Zhen Yuan
Published: Fri, 15 Mar 2013
Hypermarkets are now a standard feature in most modern housing estates. LIN ZHENYUAN visits a familiar hypermarket that has filled up his refrigerator over the decades.
NOBODY under 40 years old is unfamiliar with the Giant hypermarkets.
There are 132 Giant outlets throughout the 14 States of Malaysia. Selangor has the most – 47 branches.
Nowadays with so many hypermarkets in Selangor, residents are spoilt for choice but we all have favourites.
Some are near our homes so that’s where we normally go for the sake of convenience.
There are times when I am visiting friends or relatives in Subang Jaya, I will drop by at the Giant hypermarket to grab some much needed groceries and crawl back to Petaling Jaya during the after-office hours of between six and seven.
Then some time last year, the entire Giant complex was completely knocked down. It had literally vanished.
Like many who frequented the area, I thought it was making way for another commercial building.
It was only in January 2013 when the new improved Giant hypermarket reared its roof that I found out that famous Giant was back with a new vitality.
The new Giant hypermarket has replaced the old single-storey building. It now has three levels and 60 other tenants.
Giant hypermarket, in keeping with its size and its name, takes up 80,000 sq ft of retail space.
In 1994, Giant had the honour of being the first local hypermarket to be set up in the country.
From its inception till today, a period of 19 years, other hypermarkets have sprung up. Among them are Mydin Store, Tesco and Carrefour.
By definition, a hypermarket is a gigantic superstore combining department stores and a supermarket. It is a complex that has the full range of retail merchandise and every type of grocery that any housewife needs.
Recently while I was entering the Subang Summit complex, I noticed the new Giant hypermarket.
Naturally, curiosity got the better of me and I walked across.
The first outlet at its ground level turned out to be a big surprise. It was the Home in Abroad African Store.
It also advertises itself as an “importer of all African foodstuff and products”.
That was the first time I have seen a store selling African goods.
Obviously, there must be a sizeable consumer base to justify its existence.
If one were to wander around Kepong, Jinjang and other notable housing estates, one would realise that our African brothers and sisters have made a considerable impact on our society.
The next outlet, Kedai Makan Upin & Ipin, shone its neon lights at me. That was another first for me.
Upin & Ipin is a popular local TV animation series that made its appearance on TV9 in 2007.
The TV show has become so popular that there are even Upin & Ipin postage stamps.
Currently, the Upin & Ipin series is in its 7th season.
This Upin & Ipin restaurant is definitely a novel idea as far as Malaysian eateries are concerned.
The entire hypermarket even smells new. The escalators work smoothly - as they should. The food court called Food Unlimited is fully wired so those people with iPads and smartphones would be happy.
Of course, since the “medan selera” is new there are attractive stalls selling enticing dishes.
My only minor grouse with this new building is a sign that says “Disabled Toilet (Level G)”.
Of course it means toilet for the disabled otherwise some of us would have mistaken that to be a washroom that is damaged or under repair.
There are nine categories of retail outlets in the Giant hypermarket.
Food & beverages have the most operators – 19. Next is IT Product & Tele-Communication which has 12.
The other categories are Specialty, Optical, Health & Beauty, Fashion/Shoes/Accessories, Watch & Jewellery, Services and ATMs.
The RM80 million transformation of the Giant hypermarket has given a new lease of life to this particular outlet which has long been a landmark of this section of USJ. The project took 24 months to complete.
Subang Jaya, which was established in 1974, consists of SS12 to SS19.
It also includes Batu Tiga, Putra Heights, USJ and Bandar Sunway.
With a population of more than 710,000, Subang Jaya has more than enough space and consumers for several shopping complexes, let alone the new Giant hypermarket.
According to media reports, there will be seven more Giant outlets this year and 15 more are earmarked for upgrading.
Meanwhile, Subang Jaya’s new Giant has left a hefty commercial footprint on the 70 sq km landscape.
Right next to Giant is the Mydin Store which is also popular among Subang Jaya residents and enjoys support for its competitive prices.
Over on the far corner of Subang Jaya is Carrefour which is of French origin.
Although Giant outlets are also found in Brunei, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia, UAE and Japan, Carrefour has 1,395 hypermarkets around the world (2009 statistics).
Whatever one’s choice of hypermarket, it is clear that a new Giant is walking among us and he has taken up residence in a fairly prosperous commercial section of SS13.
I particularly like the SJ Giant’s wide glass windows next to the escalators inside the building.
The view is magnificent and they provide panoramic perspectives of the surrounding light industrial factories and other interesting commercial pockets.
Right now, the Giant Subang Jaya, as some call it, is gearing up to achieve an iconic status in one of the most robust residential areas in Klang Valley.
The Giant retail chain is owned and operated by GCH Retail (M) Sdn Bhd.