SINGAPORE – The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) has ordered Foot Locker to suspend operations at the Orchard Gateway @ Emerald outlet for 10 days starting Saturday (December 5) for failing to adhere to Covid-19’s secure controls.
“Large crowds had gathered at the outlet for a product launch on Friday, despite repeated advice from public enforcement authorities on crowd management,” STB said in a joint statement with Enterprise Singapore on Saturday.
The Foot Locker’s Orchard outlet is not permitted to engage in physical store activities during the suspension period, but may continue with online store activities.
The investigation is still ongoing and further enforcement action may be taken, the agencies said.
STB and ESG are also involving Foot Locker in the measures it will take for future product launches, including the possible halt to all such physical launches at Foot Locker locations in Singapore.
They added that retailers are strongly advised to keep online sales, rather than hosting physical product launches that can draw large crowds.
“When physical launches are held, companies must ensure they have robust plans for secure controls, including crowd management and capacity limits,” the agencies said.
On Friday evening, the audience had apparently gathered for Saturday’s release of the limited edition Adidas sneaker, an item that could make a nice profit in the secondary market due to high demand.
A Foot Locker spokesperson told The Straits Times on Saturday that there will be no events in the store this weekend.
“We take the issues of crowding out seriously and continue to work diligently and proactively to maintain a safe distance for all our customers and employees.
“We will continue to enforce maximum occupancy restrictions for all our stores according to guidelines set by local authorities,” said the spokesman.
When ST visited the shoe store around 10:00 AM on Saturday, there were no crowds.
Security officers were seen advising some members of the public waiting outside the store that the sneaker’s launch had been canceled.
On Friday, photos on social media showed a crowd of about 100 people packed shoulder to shoulder in front of the shoe store at about 8 p.m.
The crowd dispersed shortly after 8:30 pm after ambassadors and police officers arrived at a safe distance.
The product of a collaboration between rapper Kanye West and the sports shoe brand, Adidas’ Yeezy sneaker line has attracted large audiences in Singapore and abroad during previous launches.
Adidas Singapore had held an online ballot for Saturday’s limited release, but many sneaker aficionados who missed it seemed to want to try their luck at Foot Locker, given the shoes’ high resale value.
Last June, the launch of the limited-edition Adidas Yeezy Boost 350 V created a long queue that took many hours to release at Foot Locker’s Jewel Changi Airport outlet.