KUALA LUMPUR, March 19 — The Retail Group Malaysia (RGM) estimated the industry’s total sales to expand by an estimated 4.5 per cent this year.
The retail consulting firm said this was based on its first quarterly projections of retail sales for 2019 after members of the Malaysia Retailers Association (MRA) were interviewed on their retail sales performances for the entire year of 2018 and the first quarter of 2019.
“Members of the retailers’ association are hopeful that their businesses will stabilise in 2019.
“They estimate an average growth rate of 3.1 per cent during the next three months,” it said in its Malaysia Retail Industry Report (March 2019).
RGM said retail sales growth rate was 3.9 per cent (RM103.7 billion) in 2018 year-on-year, despite the failure of a three-month tax holiday to lift the industry.
“For the sixth consecutive year, retail industry performance lagged behind Gross Domestic Product growth rate,” it said.
Based on the survey, it said retail sales were lacklustre despite the Chinese New Year festival but is expected to recover during the second quarter with an estimated 4.8 per cent growth with the upcoming Hari Raya festival celebrations.
RGM added that retail sales were expected to expand by 3.9 per cent during the third quarter of 2019 before spiking to 5.9 per cent during the year-end period, owing to more economic activities during the second half of this year to boost retail sales.
Out of six sub-sectors of retail operators polled, supermarket and hypermarket operators did not expect their businesses to normalise during the first quarter and instead are bracing for a 7.6 per cent contraction.
“The sub-sector reported yet another poor result during the last quarter of 2018 as retail sales declined by 4.0 per cent.
“It is the worst performer during the quarter. For the whole year, sales dropped by 5.0 per cent,” it said.
Retailers in the pharmacy and personal care sub-sector were also expecting their businesses to maintain a strong growth rate of 12.7 per cent during the same quarter, the highest retail sales forecast.
“The sub-sector was the best performer during this latest quarter in 2018, with the sub-sector recording a sustainable growth rate of 8.7 per cent, as compared to the same period in 2017.
“For the year of 2018, this sub-sector expanded by 10.2 per cent,” it said.