Report: Mall retailers say Covid-19, MCO cost them nearly RM2b in lost sales

Patrons throng the Mid Valley Megamall in Kuala Lumpur May 28, 2020. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Patrons throng the Mid Valley Megamall in Kuala Lumpur May 28, 2020. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

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KUALA LUMPUR, June 30 — The Covid-19 pandemic and the government’s containment measures in March and May cost the retail industry around RM1.8 billion, according to Malaysia Shopping Malls Association president Tan Sri Teo Chiang Kok.

Teo, in a report by The Straits Times, also said the estimated loss was only for the months when the movement control order (MCO) had been strictest and did not yet account for the sluggishness in consumer demand, which he conceded was improving.

"Footfall has now reached approximately 50 to 70 per cent and sales are up to 40 per cent," Teo was quoted saying in the report.

Sunway Malls and Theme parks chief executive HC Chan also reported a gradual return of shoppers, which he said was up to 70 per cent of pre-MCO levels.

“[We] expect we will see more people returning to resume their shopping and dining activities in the new normal,” he was quoted as saying, and ventured that the reopening of the entertainment and leisure sectors would further boost traffic.

“We expect recovery of 75 per cent to 85 per cent footfall by the year-end.”

Although Malaysia remains under a recovery movement control order until August 31, the government has effectively allowed nearly all businesses to resume with restrictions such as capacity limits, temperature scanning, and registrations for contact tracing.

Malaysia is expected to experience more economic hardship due to Covid-19, with the World Bank projecting that the local economy will contract 3.1 per cent this year versus last year’s 4.3 per cent growth.

New Covid-19 cases continue to be reported locally albeit at single digits daily and without sporadic infections.

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