PETALING JAYA (April 24): Sunway Malls will be giving its non-essential retailers an option to operate shorter hours after the Movement Control Order (MCO) ends, which is currently scheduled to end on May 12.

Anticipating a gestation period for businesses post-MCO before a full recovery, the mall operator reckons that shorter operating hours will allow better optimization of staffing arrangement from two working shifts to one shift.

“As business will take time to normalise in tandem with the gradual return of public confidence, this move will enable retailers to cut down their operating costs to help protect and preserve retailers’ cash flows for the next few months,” CEO of Sunway Malls and Theme Parks H C Chan said today.

He pointed out that an estimated 35% of retailers’ cost arises from wages, while rental constitutes 15%. “Based on the expected savings of a quarter from the 35%, which works out to be 8%, is equivalent to half a month worth of rental saving,” he  said during Facebook LIVE Fireside Chat today entitled ‘Will malls be empty in the new normal?’.

In a separate statement, the mall operator said a pilot test of this flexi-hour measure will first commence for one month. If proven to be effective, it will be extended for another two months.

The move will see retailers who opt for this option to operate for eight trading hours per day rather than the current practice of 12 hours. The reduction of four trading hours per day will mean that a retailer will save a cumulative 120 trading hours in 30 days.

Sunway Malls will continue to operate as usual from 10 am to 10 pm daily along with essential retailers including supermarkets, pharmacies, convenience stores and F&B outlets.

“We understand too that the new normal of social distancing and absence of mass gathering will have the greatest impact for the first three months post MCO. Taking cognisance of this, we have to accord some degree business flexibility to our business partners,” Chan said.

Sunway Malls had earlier granted rent waiver to non-essential trade retailers at the onset of MCO. The mall group has also carried out steps to ease credit control for retailers during the testing period.

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