SINGAPORE (Aug 6): CapitaLand Mall Trust’s unit price is up just under 1% since the start of the year. That may not be much, but consider this — the FTSE ST Real Estate Investment Trusts Index is down 5.3% as at end-July. Frasers Centrepoint Trust (FCT) and Mapletree Commercial Trust — also analysts’ favourites — are up 0.45% and 0.62% respectively. These three REITs are pure Singapore-focused, largely retail REITs.

Ironically, retail is seen as a “stressed” sector, as competition from e-commerce eats into the share of spending in malls generally, and overwhelming new supply in Singapore this year pressures rents. In an interview earlier this year, John Lim, CEO of ARA Asset Management, made an interesting observation. He found it hard to understand why millennials, who like to socialise as evidenced by their preference for hot desking and meeting in breakout places in their office environment, prefer to stay home in the evenings to shop online.

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