Another MCO spells doom for sales industry, retailers warn

A general view outside the Sogo complex during the three-day closure for premises flagged as potential hotspots under the government’s Hotspot Identification for Dynamic Engagement system in Kuala Lumpur, May 9, 2021. — Picture by Firdaus Lati
A general view outside the Sogo complex during the three-day closure for premises flagged as potential hotspots under the government’s Hotspot Identification for Dynamic Engagement system in Kuala Lumpur, May 9, 2021. — Picture by Firdaus Lati

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KUALA LUMPUR, May 10 — The implementation of another movement control order (MCO) could lead to devastating decline of the sales industry, retailers’ groups have said.

The Malaysian Reserve quoted Malaysia Retain Chain Association (MRCA) president Shirley Tay said that many were already struggling to recover from the effects of the earlier MCOs.

“Retailers are working hard to recover from huge losses suffered. Another MCO will cause unimaginable damage to the performance of the retail industry,” she said.

Adding that the whole industry will go into a further slump, Tay said that despite slight improvements, businesses have yet to fully recover in spite of the relaxation of the standard operating procedures.

“Though there was a marginal improvement compared to the period with stricter phases of MCOs last year and in the first quarter of 2021, we were way below in recovery from our performance prior to the pandemic,” she said.

Tay’s remarks stand in contrast to the outlook for retail last month, when a majority of mall retailers state they have seen footfall returning to pre-Covid levels since MCO 2.0 was lifted.

Meanwhile, Retail Group Malaysia managing director Tan Hai Hsin was reported saying at the time that while retail and food and beverage sales are still below 2019 levels, he expected a more positive outlook in the second quarter of 2021.

Last week, Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced the enforcement of the MCO in six districts in Selangor and all of KL.

Under the Hotspot Identification by Dynamic Engagement (HIDE) system, which revealed malls and grocers among potential hotspots for Covid-19 transmission, an estimated 152 localities were ordered to shutter for three days.

In turn, the MCRA, Malaysian Shopping Malls Association, and Malaysian Retailers’ Association demanded the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry immediately suspend the announcement of any information gleaned from HIDE untila  clear, accurate, and precise basis accompanies the information to be released.

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