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Brick-and-mortar retail pumps up the volume

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FOR the longest time, the death knell has been sounded for the brick-and-mortar shop, as e-commerce took flight and it seemed like no one wanted to buy anything they couldn't get with the click of a mouse. But reports of the death of retail stores have been greatly exaggerated. In Friday's issue of BT Weekend magazine, three retail players show how they are reinventing the way we buy things. The newly revamped Funan, for one, features an indoor cycling path, a rooftop farm and "retail pods" in a daring bid to disrupt the retail experience, resulting in a 98 per cent occupany rate even before it opens next month. Meanwhile, Dubai-based conglomerate Al-Futtaim, which owns a large stable of brands in Singapore including Robinsons, Marks & Spencer and Zara, embraces technology but puts most of its money into physical stores in the belief that nothing beats the tactile joy of trying something before you buy it. And third, the startup INSPIFY spent three years developing technology for the luxury sector that allows customers to enjoy a seamless brick-and-click experience, by packaging product information into a neat accessible package.

If it's all about changing customers' attitudes towards shopping, changing your own attitude about life could help you be rich, says T Harv Eker, author of the 2005 bestseller Secrets of the Millionaire Mind. He shares the ways you could be sabotaging your own success, and what to do about it.

Elsewhere in this issue, we take a walk through feudal Japan as we retrace part of the famous Tokaido route that served as the official highway between Edo (the old name for Tokyo) and Kyoto, built by the shogunate of the 1600s. We look at how hotel restaurants are raising the bar on fine dining in Singapore; check out the new "black" trend in watches; and learn about an eco-friendly approach to home design.

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