KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 7): The Malaysian retail industry recorded a positive growth rate of 3.4% in retail sales for the second quarter of 2021, from a 30.9% contraction a year earlier.

In the September 2021 Malaysia Retail Industry Report released today, Retail Group Malaysia (RGM) said prolonged lockdowns this year and high daily positive cases have affected the ability of many Malaysian retailers to stay afloat.

It said with the gradual relaxation of movement restrictions and the opening of more retail trades, retailers are struggling to catch sales for the remaining few months of this year.

RGM explained that the positive growth rate during the quarter under review was due solely to the low base effect a year ago.

It said during the second quarter of 2020, the Malaysian retail industry suffered a year-on-year decline of 30.9% because of business closures.

It added that retail performances during the second quarter of this year had been affected by a series of lockdowns.

RGM said shopping traffic recovered when Movement Control Order (MCO) 2.0 ended in March 2021.

It said although Malaysia was under Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) during the first month of the second quarter, shopping malls in all major cities received large crowds on the first weekend after MCO 2.0 was lifted.

Some tourist areas had also received good crowd during the weekends, it said.

Moving forward, RGM said that Malaysia Retailers Association (MRA) and Malaysia Retail Chain Association (MRCA) project an average contraction 15.1% during the third quarter of 2021.

It said physical stores of majority of retail trades were shut during the first half of third quarter.

Except for operators of mini-market, convenience store and cooperative, retailers in all retail sub-sectors foresee downward movement in their sales for the next 3 months.

The department store cum supermarket operators are expecting their sales to worsen with a negative growth of 25.5% for the third quarter of this year.

After a temporary rebound, the department store operators are expecting their businesses to decline with a negative growth rate of 11.2% for the third 3-month period of this year, it said.

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