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The Macau Metro Monitor, May 24th, 2010


RETAIL SALES STILL SURGING Intelligence Macau

1Q Retail sales surged 36% YoY to MOP 6.85 BN.  According to IM, higher shopping spending in Macau have benefited many malls such as the Venetian's Grand Canal Shoppes and Shoppes at Four Seasons which have seen sales double and up 80% YoY, respectively.

Customers seem to be more receptive to shopping promotions than gaming promotions.  Also, an important aspect of the resorts' success is the ability to use their retailers as an effective customer-relations tool with high-end gamers. For example, by having a partnership with Rolex as its 2nd largest supplier, Wynn is able to incentivize gamers to come back for more rolling-chip sales.

On Cotai, the relaunch of the Sands Rewards Club seems to draw in more mainland customers, while One Central at MGM Grand Macau seems to be underperforming, though it is still early as more shops will open in the coming months.

MARINA BAY TO BENEFIT FROM GOOD TIMING Sydney Morning Herald

The near completion of Marina Bay Financial Centre's (MBFC) many suites and apartments comes at a time of a robust Singapore housing market.  As part of the first stage of MBFC's complex, the new Marina Bay residences (55-story block) are set to be "topped out", which means construction internally will begin in earnest in the near term.

The executive director of residential for CBRE, Joseph Tan, believes that the Singapore residential market is continuing the momentum from the mass market achieved in 2009. Eventually, it will trickle up to the mid and prime segments.  He also said that prices are generally higher in 2010 and that the total value of transactions at the end of 2010 should be higher YoY ($S16.22 BN) but lower than that in 2007 ($S23.52 BN).

VISITORS ARRIVALS FOR APRIL 2010 DSEC

Total visitor arrivals increased by 13.1% YoY to 2,111,563.  Visitors from Mainland China grew by 17.3% YoY to 1,052,610, with 390,031 traveling to Macau under the Individual Visit Scheme, up by 13.9% from April 2009 (342,458).

GAMING TAX REVENUE KEEPS RISING macaubusiness.com

Macau registered a budget surplus of MOP17.8 billion in the first four months of 2010, a YoY increase of 96%. Direct taxes from gaming rose 54% YoY.

TOURISM SWEETNER macaubusiness.com

All licensed businesses and activities registered until December 2009, including hotels, guesthouses, restaurants, nightclubs, bars, sauna and massage parlours, health clubs and karaokes, travel agencies, as well as tourist guides, will be exempt from renewal fees for licenses and ID cards issued by the Macau Government Tourism Office (MGTO).  The exemption is valid until the end of this year only and has retroactive effects to October 2009.