SALES LIKELY TO SEE

Pri­vate con­sump­tion con­tin­ues to drive busi­nesses in Malaysia

New Straits Times - - Business -

RUPA DAMODARAN

KUALA LUMPUR ru­pa­banerji@me­di­aprima.com.my

RE­TAIL sales are likely to grow by 3.9 per cent this year from 1.7 per cent last year, in tan­dem with the projected growth in the econ­omy as well as a more sta­ble ring­git.

Re­tail Group Malaysia man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Tan Hai Hsin said a weaker ring­git had re­sulted in about 20 to 30 per cent rise in prices, which had driven down con­sumer sen­ti­ment last year.

The re­tail in­dus­try turnover last year to­talled RM97.8 bil­lion.

Tan said the worse-hit were the Tier-One depart­ment stores­cum-su­per­mar­kets.

“Pri­vate con­sump­tion con­tin­ues to con­trib­ute a strong growth be­cause spend­ing pat­terns of Malaysian con­sumers have shifted more to travel and food and bev­er­age,” he said at a brief­ing dur­ing the Bursa-HLIB Stra­tum Fo­cus Se­ries, here, yes­ter­day.

Jointly or­gan­ised by Hong Leong In­vest­ment Bank and Bursa Malaysia, the con­fer­ence dis­cussed the im­pact of the rapidly grow­ing e-com­merce sec­tor on Malaysia’s re­tail in­dus­try and the econ­omy.

Since the Goods and Ser­vices Tax was in­tro­duced two years ago, re­tail sales have been grow­ing at be­low mar­ket ex­pec­ta­tions, even dur­ing the ma­jor fes­ti­vals.

Tan said de­spite an on­line ex­plo­sion in re­cent years, on­line re­tail sales ac­counted for about two per cent of to­tal re­tail sales al­though it had room to grow up to 15 per cent.

“In re­cent years, both sides of the re­tail­ing for­mats are cross­ing, over with tra­di­tional stores tak­ing on new tech­nol­ogy and on­line stores set­ting up brick-and­mor­tar stores.”

Malaysia Dig­i­tal Econ­omy Corp Sdn Bhd di­rec­tor Wee Huay Neo said e-com­merce in Malaysia was at a nascent stage at 10.8 per cent growth. It was at an in­flec­tion point and for it to grow by 20 to 25 per cent to join the ranks of coun­tries like In­dia, Sin­ga­pore, Tai­wan and China, there must be fo­cused in­ter­ven­tions.

The na­tional e-com­merce strate­gic roadmap will en­sure that growth more than dou­bles to be­tween RM114 bil­lion and RM170 bil­lion in 2020.

Marc Woo, from Google Malaysia, said the pen­e­tra­tion of e-com­merce was weak in the re­tail in­dus­try al­though there had been a shift in con­sumer and shop­ping be­hav­iour.

“Google’s con­sumer barom­e­ter found that over 70 per cent of Malaysians shopped off­line af­ter do­ing re­search on­line.”

The grow­ing e-com­merce seg­ments are home ap­pli­ances (63 per cent), hair care (58 per cent), do-it-your­self (55 per cent) and home fur­nish­ings and gro­ceries (both 56 per cent).

PIC BY EIZAIRI SHAMSUDIN

Re­tail Group Malaysia man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Tan Hai Hsin says both sides of the re­tail­ing for­mats are cross­ing over, with tra­di­tional stores tak­ing on new tech­nol­ogy and on­line stores set­ting up brickand-mor­tar stores.

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