The messy, chaotic aftermath of Robinsons’ out-of-business sale (Photos)

Carolyn Teo
·3-min read

Last week’s sudden announcement that Robinsons department stores were closing for good sent hundreds of shoppers into a frenzy at its two outlets, leaving behind a big mess.

It was still in disarray when Coconuts this morning visited both stores: the six-story flagship outlet at The Heeren on Orchard Road and its store at Raffles City. There were empty shelves, shoes strewn across the floor, and barrier tape at nearly every turn as vendors packed their unsold goods into boxes, and shoppers scavenged for final deals. Only a handful staff members were seen tending the cashier counters and booths.

“I wanted to go during the weekends but I was afraid it would be too crowded and I’m surprised today is also packed. It’s a pity because it’s quite difficult for me to find my size so Robinsons is one of the places to buy gowns for dinners,” longtime Robinsons shopper who would only identify herself as Lisa told Coconuts.

Robinsons broke the shocking news of its bankruptcy and closure on Friday after 162 years in Singapore. Australian firm KordaMentha is liquidating its assets. That announcement prompted crowds to flock to the two stores over the weekend, hitting them like a tornado.

A long queue of about 100 shoppers lined up outside The Heeren, waiting to enter the store at around 11am. Another shopper, who only gave the name Lucy, said at The Heeren that she had been a fan of Robinsons for over 40 years and loved buying its housewares.

“It’s sad, the things are very reliable. The household items have quality. I really don’t know where I will shop after this,” the 72-year-old woman said.

Over at the Raffles City outlet, we saw a queue of about 50 people waiting to get in at around noon. The queue was unusually, long but it only took each person around 10 minutes before they could enter. Security guards were at the site to manage the crowd.

Signs directing customer and vendor enquiries to KordaMentha were also put up at the stores. Separate signs had also informed customers that they needed to spend double the value of their gift vouchers or gift cards in order to use them.

More photos below:

The line that continued past neighboring stores and back at the Raffles City outlet this morning. Photo: Coconuts
The line that continued past neighboring stores and back at the Raffles City outlet this morning. Photo: Coconuts
The line outside Robinsons’ flagship outlet at The Heeren this morning. Photo: Coconuts
The line outside Robinsons’ flagship outlet at The Heeren this morning. Photo: Coconuts
The wiped out lingerie section at the Raffles City outlet. Photo: Coconuts
The wiped out lingerie section at the Raffles City outlet. Photo: Coconuts
The wiped out lingerie section and unclothed mannequins at the Raffles City outlet. Photo: Coconuts
The wiped out lingerie section and unclothed mannequins at the Raffles City outlet. Photo: Coconuts
Bunch of items displayed on the counters at The Heeren outlet. Photo: Coconuts
Bunch of items displayed on the counters at The Heeren outlet. Photo: Coconuts
Empty shelves at The Heeren outlet. Photo: Coconuts
Empty shelves at The Heeren outlet. Photo: Coconuts
Opened boxes of household items at the Raffles City outlet. Photo: Coconuts
Opened boxes of household items at the Raffles City outlet. Photo: Coconuts
Unfolded Pillowcases laid out in a mess on shelves at The Heeren outlet. Photo: Coconuts
Unfolded pillowcases laid out in a mess on shelves at The Heeren outlet. Photo: Coconuts
Pillows and bedsheets removed from shelves and left on a bed in the bedding section at The Heeren outlet. Photo: Coconuts
Pillows and bedsheets removed from shelves and left on a bed in the bedding section at The Heeren outlet. Photo: Coconuts
Clothing, some unhung, and other random items thrown everywhere at The Heeren outlet. Photo: Coconuts
Clothing, some unhung, and other random items thrown everywhere at The Heeren outlet. Photo: Coconuts
Piles of unwanted items at The Heeren outlet. Photo: Coconuts
Piles of unwanted items at The Heeren outlet. Photo: Coconuts
A random trolley of unwanted shoes at The Heeren outlet. Photo: Coconuts
A random trolley of unwanted shoes at The Heeren outlet. Photo: Coconuts
Opened boxes of shoes thrown all around the floor in an area cordoned off by ‘caution’ tapes at The Heeren outlet. Photo: Coconuts
Opened boxes of shoes thrown all around the floor in an area cordoned off by ‘caution’ tapes at The Heeren outlet. Photo: Coconuts
The clutter behind the cashier counter at The Heeren outlet. Photo: Coconuts
The clutter behind the cashier counter at The Heeren outlet. Photo: Coconuts
Staff plastic wrapping luggage and stacking them on trolleys at The Heeren outlet. Photo: Coconuts
Staff plastic wrapping luggage and stacking them on trolleys at The Heeren outlet. Photo: Coconuts
Staff wheeling boxes of goods into the storage area at the back of the store at The Heeren outlet. Photo: Coconuts
Staff wheeling boxes of goods into the storage area at the back of the store at The Heeren outlet. Photo: Coconuts
Hundreds of shoeboxes tied up at The Heeren outlet. Photo: Coconuts
Hundreds of shoeboxes tied up at The Heeren outlet. Photo: Coconuts
Staff removing goods off the shelves and packing them into boxes at The Heeren outlet. Photo: Coconuts
Staff removing goods off the shelves and packing them into boxes at The Heeren outlet. Photo: Coconuts
The endless line at The Heeren outlet this morning. Photo: Coconuts
The endless line at The Heeren outlet this morning. Photo: Coconuts
The signs put up around the Raffles City outlet. Photos: Coconuts
The signs put up around the Raffles City outlet. Photos: Coconuts

Other stories:

Remembering Robinsons: 19th century department store survived fatal inferno, Japanese invasion
So long, Robinsons: Vintage department store to close its last Singapore stores

This article, The messy, chaotic aftermath of Robinsons’ out-of-business sale (Photos), originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.