PETALING JAYA (April 19): Despite the challenges from the Covid-19 pandemic, Sunway Malls have seen improved traffic and sales since the easing of restrictions from the Lunar New Year period, said Sunway Malls.

According to the latest March 2021 figures, the company said both traffic and sales had achieved 90% and 95% normalcy respectively in comparison to the same period in March 2019.

The success is largely attributed to the mall group’s expertise in mall property management across the dimensions of financial, operations, leasing and marketing in responding to the Covid-19 crisis. Bearing recognition to that, Sunway Malls recently emerged a big winner as two of its malls bagged gold awards as Malaysia’s best managed malls

At EdgeProp Malaysia’s Best Managed & Sustainable Property Awards 2021, Sunway Pyramid has emerged as a Gold winner in the 10 Years and Above – Retail category. Sunway Velocity in Kuala Lumpur, another mall developed by Sunway Group, has also won Gold in the Below 10 Years – Retail category. (Click here for more details)

As a group, Sunway is a triple gold winner with Sunway Geo Tower also recognised as a best managed property in Malaysia. The office building won gold in the single-owned office in a mixed strata below 10 years category. An MSC status premise, the office building is located directly opposite Sunway City Kuala Lumpur’s (SCKL) education and healthcare precinct, and connected by a solar-powered canopied walkway. 

Though malls in Malaysia generally enjoyed strong traffic every festive season, this year’s festive season got off to a muted start when Malaysia saw six of its states reinstated the movement control order (MCO 2.0), namely Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Johor, Melaka and Sabah, in mid-January. All malls under the group are located in the affected states. 

“Given the weak start to 2021, Sunway Malls began re-strategizing to deal with the repercussions of MCO 2.0. Having gained a significant amount of insights on behavioural economics, behavioural psychology, travelling pattern and spending pattern enable better intervention strategies to be deployed,’ said HC Chan, CEO of Sunway Malls & Theme Parks.

One focus area had been to concentrate in driving returning traffic particularly capitalising on revenge spending, deferred festive buying and pent-up demand for F&B dining. Similarly, emphasis was given to value-retailing amidst the weak consumer sentiments and sluggish economy.

“Due to economic uncertainties, many consumers today are quick to accept value-retailing and have a strong tendency to be attracted to rewards that give them more value. We saw the upward trajectory of our tenant sales since we ran value-retailing campaigns and we double up the effort, resulting in higher recovery of tenant sales and traffic,” added Chan.

He added that having gone through the experiences of first MCO, the impact of MCO 2.0 was definitely more balanced and not as detrimental as the first MCO. 

“It was better thought off to strike a balance between lives and livelihood. MCO1.0 was predominantly skewed towards protecting lives with limits on economic activities,” he highlighted.

Apart from spend and redeem campaigns, since the pandemic began, Sunway Malls has supported its retailers through various initiatives. The mall group was the first in the country to announce a 14-day rent-waiver in March, followed by further rent rebates, rental assistance programmes and RM15 million marketing campaigns throughout the year to boost sales. Sunway Malls was again the first to announce a flexi operating hour option for retailers, to allow better optimization of staffing arrangement and enable retailers to cut down their operating costs.

Since the first MCO, the mall group has reported less than 1% of its retailers shutting down their operations. On the contrary, Sunway Malls welcomed 200 new shop openings with a NLA of 700,000 sq ft across its malls last year equivalent to a normal size mall with 100% occupancy, a healthy retail space demand driven by the growing emergence and expansion of Asian retail brands.

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