indepth

Embracing challenges

The third wave of Covid-19 in Malaysia has shaken shoppers’ confidence and also become the final straw that has broken the camel’s back for some retailers, in turn hurting the mall operators’ rental revenue and future expansion plans.

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One such casualty is, sadly, Robinson Co (Malaya) Sdn Bhd, which opened its first store in Malaysia back in 1928 in Kuala Lumpur. It has announced the shuttering of both its outlets in The Gardens Mall and The Shoppes at Four Seasons Place on Oct 30, 2020.

Similarly in Singapore, Robinson & Co (Singapore) will be closing its remaining outlets at The Heeren and Raffles City shopping centre, Singapore media reported, citing a statement from the retailer.

In the same week, the Malaysian Association of Film Exhibitors (MAFE) collectively decided to temporarily suspend operations of all cinemas in Malaysia from November 2020 until further notice as the industry had endured deep revenue losses due to a drop in admissions of up to 90% year-on-year.

In the Financial Stability Review – First Half 2020 report released by Bank Negara Malaysia in mid-October, it commented that the retail space sector has been significantly impacted with consumers influenced by MCO or risks from the Covid-19 outbreak.

“Amid pre-existing oversupply conditions and changes to consumption behaviour since the pandemic, rental rates in the retail commercial property market are likely to remain depressed in the period ahead,” the report said.

Despite the negative news, mall operators have remained calm and seen the current slow time as an opportunity for them to restrategise for future needs.

This story first appeared in the EdgeProp.my e-Pub on Nov 6, 2020. You can access back issues here.

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