27 Apr 2023

Cistri congratulates YTL Group (“YTL”) on the successful re-opening of The Starhill (previously known as Starhill Gallery) at the Bukit Bintang shopping district in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

We are delighted to have led a multi-disciplinary consultant team to support YTL in their repositioning study for The Starhill. 

Starhill’s transformation provides a reference for how luxury retail players can stay competitive in the market by: 

To succeed in a competitive retail market like Kuala Lumpur, particularly Bukit Bintang, it is important for a retail centre to have a differentiated identity that clearly targets a well-defined customer profile. Doing this requires an understanding of both the demand and supply fundamentals influencing the market the centre operates in.

Cistri helped YTL to assess the retail demand and supply fundamentals of its relevant market, including retail sales potential. We also helped YTL to identify their core target segments and other segments with growth opportunities. 

Today, the renewed Starhill is positioned as the “Home of the Tastemakers” – the “lifestyle destination for discerning urbanites and travelers”. This positioning is reinforced by the unique labels and concept stores in The Starhill that cannot be found elsewhere in Bukit Bintang — for example, having the only Louis Vuitton store on the street on top of other international brands such as the first Southeast Asian outlets for eslite spectrum, Shiatzy Chen and Ivan Young, and Malaysia’s only flagship stores of Audemars Piguet, Balmain, Tom Ford, Philipp Plein, Paul&Shark, Stefano Ricci, Roberto Coin and Roberto Cavalli. 

                                           Before                                              After 


Experiential retail is even more important today given the increasing popularity of online shopping and the ever-growing need to differentiate physical retail from their online counterparts. The best experiences are multi-faceted in nature, often blending elements of leisure, arts, culture, and F&B. As part of the study, the Cistri-led consultant team explored potential experiential concepts and new-to-market concepts that would fit the positioning of The Starhill. 

Perhaps most evident in The Starhill’s evolution into an experiential leisure destination is the integration of 160 additional hotel keys into JW Marriott on the top four levels of the building to create a seamless blend between retail and hospitality.

Within the retail component, another experiential element is in the anchor tenant, eslite spectrum, a multi-dimensional retailer from Taiwan that created the world’s first 24-hour bookstore. The 70,000 sq ft flagship store occupying an entire Level One has been positioned as “KL’s Living Room”, containing their iconic bookstore, cafes for customers to relax, a gallery to showcase artists’ works, and an “eslite forum” where the retailer organizes talks by famous artists, writers and book exhibitions on different themes. 

                       Before                                                                                                    After 


Finally, a successful retail destination ties together an optimised tenant mix and vibrant activations calendar with a place experience that sparks delight and endearment. This is what ultimately makes the destination enjoyable and attractive for shoppers to visit and spend time in. 

To achieve this, The Starhill has been designed to offer a shopping experience that provides a respite from the hustle and bustle of Bukit Bintang. Its warm, cosy interior and elements like a neoclassical living room in the atrium create a calm and unhurried environment that welcomes visitors with a homely sense of place. Such an ambience invites customers to relax, linger, and enjoy the experience of shopping in The Starhill. This positive place experience then helps to draw customers back over and over again. 

                Before                                                                                            After

We would like to thank the YTL team for entrusting us with the repositioning of The Starhill and are excited to have more people visit and enjoy it.


Photos credit: Kokaistudios. Photographer: David Yeow.

Rahul Mittal View Profile
Jack Backen View Profile