• Kyodo

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Cambodians are flocking to a giant Japanese shopping mall in Phnom Penh, the first of its kind in the country, even before it has been completed or officially inaugurated.

Aeon Mall, which is being built by Japanese shopping mall operator Aeon Co., has attracted about 50,000 Cambodians each day since it partially opened on June 20.

Soth Pheavy, 23, a salesclerk in the clothing department at the mall, said she is happy to see so many people milling about in the complex every day.

Meng Bopharath, 45, a shopper, said she was impressed by the decorations and design of the four-story mall, which boasts about 100,000 sq. meters of floor space.

Long Molina, 48, has visited the mall twice with her 10 children, nephews and nieces and said that the prices at Aeon Mall are not that much different from those at local shopping malls and that shoppers don’t need to bargain — a common practice at most Cambodian retail shops.

Molina said she spent several hours browsing on the days she visited, walking around, shopping and eating in the giant food court.

Built at a cost of $200 million, Aeon Mall houses a skating rink and Cambodia’s largest cinema complex and biggest food court, which can seat 1,200.

After breaking ground in December 2012, the mall will hold its official inauguration ceremony on Monday, with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida attending.

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