Local multi-label retailer Naiise will close its last and largest store at Jewel Changi Airport this Sunday as it "continues to struggle to pay its suppliers".
That news came after a spate of outlet closings last year. In the first half of 2020, three physical outlets appear to have closed. This included the Paya Lebar Quarter Outlet, whose lease has expired.
Both the Jewel Changi Airport and Paya Lebar Quarter branches didn't open until 2019, which meant they were only operational for about two years.
Shortly before, Naiise had also retired prematurely as operator of the Design Orchard retail showcase at the Textile and Fashion Federation, citing the impact of Covid-19 on the economy and business.
It had previously been commissioned to curate and operate the space on the first floor by Design Orchard until at least January 2022. and the move came after a series of cost-cutting measures that included halving the workforce early last year.
The financial problems from 2016
Naiise's problems existed long before the pandemic.
In early January 2020, it was reported that some domestic brands were moving out of their online and physical stores due to payment delays of up to a year. Some even had sales of thousands of dollars.
The goods at Naiise are sold on a shipment basis, which means that suppliers are only paid for items sold, with no commission of between 30 and 40 percent.
The company later apologized, saying it had its own cash flow problems because its debtors were late paying.
Separately, another 2018 report found that Naiise has been in default since 2016. Founder Dennis Tay justified this by saying that the delay in payments to suppliers was due to the loss of key personnel and the slow transition from startup to full-fledged company.
The growing complaints against Naiise are in stark contrast to its earlier public image as a success story in the sluggish retail scene and advocate of local designers.
Image credit: Naiise
In fact, Naiise has always been touted as the largest platform for local designers. It provided a platform for local brands and was the point of contact for quirky Singapore-themed products such as cow-shaped pillows and T-shirts with singular slogans.
It started as an online shop in 2013 and ventured into physical stores two years later. As of January 2020, Naiise had five branches in Singapore and one overseas branch in Kuala Lumpur.
However, a recent review on its website only revealed that Jewel Changi Airport is the remaining point of sale.
Selected image source: Naiise