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Robinsons to shut operations in Malaysia due to Covid-19 pressures

KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 30): Robinson Co. (Malaya) Sdn Bhd is set to close its two department stores in Malaysia and start the liquidation process following its inability to continue operations due to weak demand.

Robinsons, among other department store operators globally, has continued to feel the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, especially in terms of store sales relative to online sales.

Globally, retail buying patterns are seeing significant shifts from offline to online spending with the Global Ecommerce 2020 report showing that Asia Pacific will produce nearly 63% of all digital sales this year.

Robinsons senior general manager Danny Lim said the changing consumer landscape makes it difficult for the company to succeed over the long-term and the pandemic has further exacerbated the challenges.

The department store operator acknowledged that demand for department store concept has weakened significantly with reports showing a drop in retail sales, recording a negative growth rate of 8.5% in Malaysia for the first quarter of 2020 compared to the same period a year ago.

Concurrently, Robinsons stores in Singapore will also undergo a similar liquidation process with the appointment of Cameron Duncan and David Kim from KordaMentha as provisional liquidators.

Citing a study on retail trend, Robinsons said that large name players globally have exited the industry and over half of mall-based department stores are to close in the next five years.

“Similarly, in Malaysia, the retail industry recorded the worst growth rate in 33 years with the outlook remaining negative for the remaining months of the year as consumers are expected to tighten their spending,” the department store operator said.

The two stores are located at The Gardens Mall and The Shoppes at Four Seasons Place.

Datuk Robert Teo Keng Tuan of RSM Malaysia has been appointed as interim liquidator and the provisional liquidator will now take control of the company’s assets and assess options to realise value in order to maximise returns to creditors.

Subject to confirmation, the liquidators are hoping the stores will remain open for the coming weeks to facilitate final sales for customers before they are shuttered.

 

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