Source: ©The Moodie Report
By Peter Dowling, Senior Editor

FIJI. The Tappoo Group is forging ahead with a major investment in Fiji’s sugar capital with the FJ$30 million (US$16 million) development of the TappooCity Lautoka shopping complex.

The complex will be an upscale shopping mall with Tappoo department stores, speciality shops, entertainment and an international food court, together with ancillary services like banks. The retail will include a duty free offer.

Completion of work on the site beside the entrance of Churchill Park is expected by mid-2015.

At the groundbreaking ceremony on 20 November, Tappoo Group Chairman Kanti Tappoo said: “TappooCity Lautoka is the latest in a series of acquisitions and investments undertaken by us.

“We have consistently demonstrated our faith in the Fijian economy, and in the ingenuity and intelligence of the people of Fiji, by devoting every effort to the continued expansion of our operations here.”

TappooCity Lautoka: a step ahead for retail in Fiji’s second-largest city

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, the chief guest at the ceremony, praised the Tappoo Group for bringing the high standards of TappooCity in Suva to Lautoka.

“The Tappoo Group is not only one of the great business houses of Fiji but a major Fijian investor in our economy,” Bainimarama said.

“The government values that investment and confidence greatly. And I’d like to pay tribute today to the Tappoo family and thank them for their contribution to Fiji over the years.”

The Tappoo Group, which has duty free stores at Nadi and Nausori airports and in resorts around Fiji, is following a diversification strategy with recent forays into several new fields of commerce including petrol stations, utility vehicle sales, ice-cream production and tourism travel.

Despite all these diversifications, Tappoo continued to expand its traditional retail business, Kanti Tappoo said.

“We have renovated our store in Nausori and opened up a new one in Nakasi,” he said.

“In addition to opening new stores, there are continuous renovations, refurbishments and investments taking place in all our downtown department stores and resort shops, as well as our airport duty-free stores.”

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama (left) said the complex would be welcomed by those familiar with the high standards of TappooCity in Suva; Tappoo Group Chairman Kanti Tappoo (right)

Kanti Tappoo, Prime Minister Bainimarama and Lautoka City Council Administrator Pravin Bala at the groundbreaking ceremony on 20 November

The design by Sharma Design Architects showcases a 9,300sq m (100,000sq ft) structure that aims to have an iconic presence.

TappooCity Lautoka is expected to create approximately 250 jobs during the construction phase and in excess of 300 jobs when the complex is operational.

“Nothing would give us more pleasure than to provide much needed employment opportunities to the young men and women in Lautoka,” said Tappoo.

The family-owned business with humble beginnings in Sigatoka 73 years ago already employs in excess of 1,300 people nationwide, and Kanti Tappoo is predicting a period of unprecedented growth for Fiji.

The Tappoo Group is pursuing a range of investments in Lautoka, along with initiatives including the launch of BulaCar Rentals, a rental car company, and signing with Qantas as its general sales agent Fiji.

As reported, in July 2012 the Tappoo Group took on the WH Smith franchise for Fiji.

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