KUALA LUMPUR (July 28): Fashion and entertainment businesses are expected to be the biggest losers within the retail segment owing to the spike in Covid-19 cases, according to Savills Malaysia.

In its “Kuala Lumpur Retail 1H2021” research report, the real estate consultancy firm said the segments that will continue to suffer are the fashion and entertainment categories, which include cinemas and family indoor entertainment. This is mainly due to the non-essential sectors closure, as well as restrictions on operating hours, dine-ins, carload limitations and travel restrictions under the nation-wide lockdown that started from June 1, 2021.

Citing the Department of Statistics Malaysia, Savills Malaysia said the total retail sales in the first three months of 2021, however, had increased by 1.6% year-on-year to RM134.92 million. This is thanks to the retail sales of automotive fuel in specialised stores, household equipment and other goods in specialised stores such as clothing, footwear and pharmaceuticals and medical goods.

“This was driven by consumers’ extra disposable income derived from the Malaysian government’s financial assistance programmes, i-Sinar and i-Lestari,” it said.

Compared to two years ago in the first three months of 2019, the total sales in the first quarter of 2021 had showed a higher growth of 3.7%

“Since the lifting of the MCO [Movement Control Order] in early of 2021, shopper traffic in major and suburban malls have returned to pre-pandemic levels. Cafes and restaurants experienced good crowds of dine-in customers. However, sales of all other retail categories still struggled due to the reduction in household incomes which resulted in lower purchasing power. 

“The physical distancing laws also reduced entry capacity, which somewhat affected the retailers’ sales as well,” Savills Malaysia concluded.

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