KUALA LUMPUR (April 26): The sluggish local retail market is expected to pick up after the nation’s 14th general election which will be held on May 9, said Malaysia Retailers Association (MRA) president Tan Sri William Cheng.
“At the moment, the upcoming Malaysian general election maybe also one of the main reasons Malaysian consumers have been taking a wait-and-see attitude on their retail spending. Retail sale may rise after the official election campaign starts.
“When campaigns begin, it will lead to many political and social activities throughout the country. This should motivate consumers to spend.
“Post-election, consumers’ spending is expected to improve further as Malaysians will focus on their own economic future and release the pent-up demand,” he said in his welcoming address for the one-day conference themed "Retail Transformation, Creativity and Beyond" organised by MRA .
The Lion Group chairman acknowledged that the retail market will remain challenging in the coming years, partly due to the disruption from the e-commerce industry.
“The market outlook can be very different from the current state. We may see a very different and changing landscape from the current situation. It depends on how the malls and the retail businesses will react to the millennial customers and the challenges from e-commerce.
“What retailers need now is improvement in consumer spending. When the economic growth is broad-based, more Malaysians will have higher take-home pay. High income means higher purchasing power.
“When take-home pay improves, consumers will have better confidence on their future prospect. This will lead to higher propensity to spend,” said Cheng, adding that successful retailers in Malaysia are the ones who will be able to sell products through multiple channels — including through physical stores.