(SINGAPORE) Tangs is investing $45 million to transform its flagship store on Orchard Road into a retail offering along the lines of London's iconic Harrods or New York's Bloomies.
Tangs will invest the sum, which will be funded through both cash and debt, over a three-year period.
Tangs CEO Foo Tiang Sooi said that Tangs is looking to create a hybrid between a department store and a mall to enhance its shopping experience, as 'strong competition from shopping malls and online shopping portals' intensifies.
In addition to renovation work across the various floors, Tangs will devote a floor to health and wellness, currently dubbed Tangs Loft, which will feature four anchor spa operators (one of which is to be Aveda) as well as four mini operators. This space, occupying 7,000 square feet, will come from Level 7, which is presently being used as office space.
Mr Foo also said Tangs may look at developing Levels 5 and 6, currently 'air space', down the line.
Renovations for the first phase, which will cover Level 1, will kick off next month and wrap up in November this year, in time for the holiday shopping season. The store, which celebrates its 80th anniversary this year, will remain open throughout the entire renovation works.
According to Tangs, all 29,000 sq ft of the first floor will be devoted to beauty brands and services, with brands creating their own 'flagship boutiques'.
New brands at Tangs Beauty will include Tom Ford Beauty in October, as well as Korean skincare line Sulwhasoo - which opens its first store in South-east Asia at Tangs - in Q3 as well as Maison Martin Margiela and Viktor & Rolf in Q4.
Phase 2 will cover reworking of the basement level as well as Level 4 in 2013, while Phase 3 will revamp Levels 2 and 3 in 2014.
Part of the basement, for instance, will be developed into a kitchen studio where chefs can carry out product demonstrations. Food and beverage outlets such as restaurants and cafes will also be launched on each level.
One thing that will remain, however, is Tangs' distinctive green-tiled roof, Mr Foo added.
CK Tang was taken private in 2009, after the Tang family launched an offer - for the third time - offering minority shareholders 83 cents per share for the remaining 13.39 per cent that they did not hold in the company.
Some minority shareholders were against the offer at the time saying the price was too low, and that it did not take into account the re-development potential of the flagship store.
The company emphasised then that there was no intention to discontinue the retail operations in the Orchard Road premises, to sell or to re-develop the retail business into something else, given that it was founded by the father of Tang Wee Sung and Tang Wee Kit.
The Tang brothers also maintained that Tangs was not a property developer and would stick to its retail roots.
Last year, the company offered the remaining shareholders - which held under 2 per cent of CK Tang - $1.30 apiece to cancel the remaining shares held by minority investors via a capital reduction, while the Tang brothers offered a further 70 cents per share as a goodwill gesture.