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Greece’s Public opens first Cyprus store October 18, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Business & Economy, Lifestyle, Shopping.
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Limassol to follow, third in Paphos > Greek company, Public, has opened its first store in Cyprus and plans to open two more in the near future, challenging the local bookstores and opening up a new market for home entertainment.

Many years ago, the limited choice for bookstores were the Moufflon and the Bridgehouse [later Soloneion] in Nicosia and Kyriacou Bookshops in Limassol. Recently though, despite the growing trend for online bookstores, such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, this segment has grown to include Metropolitan and newcomer Savalas, with traditional bookshops now stocking stationery supplies, music and DVDs, while the chain of Play music stores has opened up in all towns.

Public’s flagship 1,700-square metre store opened in the ‘Mall of Cyprus’ in the Shacolas Emporium Park last month with an estimated 5,000 people visiting the books section that boasts 80,000 titles, as well as the home entertainment, music, games and computer departments on the first day.

The holding company, Publicworld SA, embarked on an ambitious recruitment drive and employs 35 staff at all levels, from mid-management department heads to marketing and sales, as well as engineers, cashiers and store keepers.

ICT Publicworld Ltd., owned directly by the Greek investor Panos Germanos, has pumped some 2,5 million euros into the Cyprus operations and plans to open its second Public store in Limassol and possibly a third one in Paphos. This is in line with the Group’s expansion plans to have a total of 15 stores in Greece and Cyprus by the end of 2011.

Hardware in stock include LCD TVs, home and portable DVD players and recorders, MP3 players, games and gadgets, 50,000 music CDs, 10,000 films and series on DVDs. The product mix on the shelves is about 60% for IT, home and communications technology, 20% for books and 20% for music and movies.

But it will have to work hard to attract the English-speaking consumers who are proportionally more than in Greece where Public has two stores and will open a new one in Athens’ Syntagma area scheduled for opening in early December.

The books section has a good selection of English-language books and recent bestsellers, but the children’s section is almost primarily Greek.

Public also attracts customers through its marketing gimmicks such as ‘in-store’ events, music downloading, digital photo printing and surfing the Internet through wireless hot spots, while it also plans to introduce new services such as ticket sales [cinema, theatres].

The only other shortcoming the store faces is the lack of magazines and newspapers, even though in the stores in Greece they do stock specialist magazines such as for music, art, architecture and technology.

An Indian Film Festival in Nicosia October 11, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Movies Life Greek.
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Friends of the Cinema > Indian Film Festival in Nicosia

Not just talking about the Indian Film Festival, which runs from tonight till next Sunday at the Cine Studio in Nicosia, but the autumn schedule of the Friends of the Cinema Society, which presents it in collaboration with the Indian High Commission, and continues to impress with its commitment to quality cinema. Not that Hollywood doesn’t also produce good films but, with a new five-screen multiplex now appearing at the Mall of Cyprus, it’s useful to remember that we have alternatives to the usual fodder.

The Indian Film Festival is a wonderful alternative, the six films comprised of two recent releases and four classics. The only slight quibble is that the classics are all on the serious side, it would’ve been nice to show some big Bollywood hits from the 70s like ‘Sholay’ and ‘Amar Akbar Anthony’, though ‘Pather Panchali’ (1955) is indispensable. This was the film that introduced Indian cinema to the West, a child’s-eye drama of a poor family in West Bengal; it won a special award at Cannes, and remains beautifully lyrical and sensitive. Those who like it should check out the other two parts of the Apu Trilogy, ‘Aparajito’ and ‘The World of Apu’.

Also on the bill is ‘The Cloud-Capped Star’ (1960), another much-acclaimed drama, this one set in Calcutta, made by critical favourite Ritwik Ghatak, while ‘Pakeezah’  (1972) is rip-roaring melodrama, and also won plaudits in its day. That leaves Raj Kapoor’s Awara (1951), another glorious melodrama usually counted among Bollywood’s greatest achievements, and the two new films, ‘Dil Se’ (1998) and ‘Koi … Mil Gaya’ (2003), neither of which I’ve seen, though I’ve heard good things about ‘Dil Se’ at least.

They’re showing various films already screened at the Pantheon in Nicosia, notably ‘The Lives of Others’ and ‘La Vie en Rose’, plus a German Film Festival later on this month, a couple of screenings of ‘The Seventh Seal’ (1957) to mark the recent death of Ingmar Bergman, and the new Lars Von Trier comedy ‘The Boss of It All’.

Good luck to the Friends. Details at www.ofk.org.cy, or call 96 420491.

Limassol to get second Cyprus shopping mall October 7, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Architecture Cyprus, Business & Economy, Shopping.
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With Limassolians unfettered by the noise about the opening of the Mall of Cyprus in  Nicosia, work is underway to build a 30,000-square metre shopping mall with 150 shops in the coastal port town.

The biggest continuous pouring of concrete was completed in Zakaki two weeks ago for the construction of a foundation raft, in what is considered a major achievement in the erection of a commercial property in the East Mediterranean and Middle East. 

The concrete pouring work was completed in about 30 hours by hundreds of workers and engineers from the construction company Atlas Pantou. A total of four batching plants of concrete were involved using six pumps and 35 concrete-mixer trucks. In all, 533 loads of concrete were delivered, which resulted in the pouring of around 5.000 cubic meters of concrete. All this was for the construction of the central basement floor of the mall.

Dimitris Krikellis, Marketing Manager of Tiffany Investments Ltd, owner of Limassol’s first shopping mall said that the building will also include cafés, restaurants, as well as other places for leisure and entertainment.

The mall is being built on a plot of 100,000 sq.m. and will have parking spaces for 2,000 cars. It hopes to attract around 10,000 visitors per day, which is less than half the traffic at the Mall of Cyprus during the first week of operation. The project will be concluded in August 2008 and the grand opening of the mall is scheduled for the fall of 2008.

The operator of the new mall will “an international  experienced mall management company,” Krikellis said, adding that the total cost of the whole project is estimated at close to CyPounds 40 million (68 million euros).

“We believe that the mall’s contribution to the economy of Cyprus and not just that of Limassol is multifold, since it is one of the largest investments in retailing ever made in Cyprus creating some 1,000 new jobs.

Krikellis said the new mall is located in Zakaki, one of the fastest developing areas of Limassol, only one kilometre away from the new port of Limassol, ten minutes from the city center and five minutes from the British bases.

Although he could not say which retail companies or fashion houses had agreed to take up shops, Krikellis said that “many international and Cypriot companies have already signed agreements with Tiffany Investments Ltd., but brands or names of the companies cannot be given at this stage.

Busy afternoon at the opening of The Mall of Cyprus September 29, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Architecture Cyprus, Business & Economy, Cyprus News, Shopping.
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Cyprus’ new mega-mall in Nicosia officially opened > Thousands of people flocked to the new Mall of Cyprus, but their arrival at the giant complex was marred by dire traffic congestion and a protest.

The opening mall took place with a side-show demonstration from the Green Party, who camped outside the mall to protest the impact the development was having on access to the new Nicosia General Hospital across the street.

Traffic police turned up in force to shepherd the long queues of cars waiting to get a glimpse of the new premises and traffic problems, first witnessed when the adjacent IKEA complex was opened around a month ago, still remained very much apparent.

Special guests at the mall’s opening included Justice Minister Sophocles Sophocleous, DISY Deputy Averoff Neophytou and his new bride, Finance Minister Michalis Sarris, the Ambassadors and Consulates of Denmark, Slovenia and France, British High Commissioner Peter Millet, former Nicosia Mayor Michalakis Zampelas and the Mall’s tycoon owner Nicos Shacolas.

In the background, the police orchestra played various ensembles and more bizarrely the title tune from the boxing film Rocky, which blared out as the Ministers and Ambassadors mingled with each other just outside the entrance.

The new mall is made up of 31 small and large shops, ten coffee shops and restaurants and a five-screen cinema complex. Large name brands include Debenhams, Zara, Carrefour, Public, Intersport, Oviesse, Cortefiel, Du Pareil Au Meme, Oysho, Pull & Bear, Bershka, Next, McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Starbucks and the Early Learning Centre. The mall will also include a Volta Fun Park for children and a hairdressing salon.

When the waiting customers did eventually manage to get into the new mall, most were not disappointed by the sheer size and options at hand. One customer took over an hour to get to the mall, in what was usually a ten-minute drive for him to get to the area. He said that despite being awed by what he saw, the traffic problem was an issue that could very soon put him off the approach altogether if it is not sorted out soon.

“I think the mall is great, this is certainly the first of its kind in Cyprus but the problem with the traffic still remains”, the customer said, who was at the mall with his wife and two small children. He added, “This is what happens when you don’t take of these issues before. I suppose the question remains as to how the traffic problems will affect the businesses in the mall. I haven’t been put off yet but I certainly won’t be compelled to coming here often if the traffic problem isn’t fixed.”

Others were more angered by the traffic problems, with around 15 environmentalists staging a small rally outside the entrance. “We are protesting against the thoughtless traffic problems that are causing so many problems to the new General Hospital”, Green Party Deputy Giorgos Perdikis said. “The ones responsible for this unacceptable situation are the town planning administration and, of course, the state. They should never have allowed the situation to get to where it is. We are calling for measures to be taken immediately because these problems are causing great delays to the public and are also endangering the lives of others.”

Perdikis also said that his party was also outraged by government plans to build a new road that would cut through Athalassa park as a means to ease the traffic congestion leading to and from the complex. “Cutting through the park of Athalassa should not be an option,” he added.

Mall of Cyprus > Extra police on duty for mall’s opening September 27, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Business & Economy, Cyprus News, Shopping.
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Over fifteen Nicosia police officers have been assigned to the Athalassa area this evening to ensure the heavy traffic expected to and from the Mall of Cyprus on its opening night runs smoothly.

The traffic officers will also be on hand to assist any emergencies to and from the capital’s general hospital and to stop cars from parking on the side of the road, police said. Situated next to IKEA and opposite the Nicosia hospital in Strovolos’ Athalassa district, the new mall is expected to attract thousands of visitors when it opens its doors for the first time today at 5.30pm.

“Before the opening the officers will be in place,” a police spokesman said. A meeting between police and the managers of IKEA and the Mall was held to go over the finer details of today’s opening, he added. Police said they would not be responsible for parking on the premises, as it had arranged its own valet service.

“What we have done is given some guidelines about how things will run. We are expecting a lot more traffic in the area and so have a plan in place. Motorists will also not be allowed to park on the side of the road and to close off any lanes because our first priority is getting to and from the hospital,” he officer said.

He said traffic wardens did not normally monitor the surrounding area but that for the opening they had been deemed necessary. “They will be placed at the roundabouts near the mall and in surrounding roads leading to it so as to help control the traffic and to ensure its smooth flow,” the police spokesman said. “Our main focus will be the hospital so that ambulances and cars will be able to get to it unhindered. If they need a police escort there will be a patrol car on hand to assist,” he said.

Apparently there had initially been talk of leaving one lane free for traffic to and from the hospital, but this idea was eventually dropped.

Today’s opening is not only expected to attract members of the public but will also include Ministers, Strovolos’ Mayor, the founder and President of the Shacolas Group, and the President of the Managing Board of ITTL Trade Tourist and Leisure Park Ltd.

The Mall of Cyprus is made up of 31 small and large shops, 10 coffee shops and restaurants and a five-screen cinema complex. Large name brands include Debenhams, Zara, Carrefour, Public, Intersport, Oviesse, Cortefiel, Du Pareil Au Meme, Oysho, Pull & Bear, Bershka, Massimo Dutti, Mango, Next, Grand Optical, and the Early Learning Centre. The mall will also include a Volta Fun Park for children and a hairdressing salon. As far as dining goes, the public will have a choice of Starbucks, Gloria Jeans, TGI Fridays, Chopsticks, McDonalds, Pizza Hut and Almyro Glyko.