Good prospects for retail trade to grow


  • Business
  • Saturday, 22 Feb 2003

BY M. HAFIDZ MAHPAR

HYPERMARKETS and supermarkets have good opportunities for further growth, provided the frequency of consumer visits improves. 

“More people are buying fresh food from the modern retail trade channel but the frequency of visits hasn’t changed since 2001, and that presents a big opportunity,” ACNielsen (M) Sdn Bhd executive director (retail measurement services) Darren Fifield said during a seminar in Petaling Jaya yesterday. 

In an ACNielsen poll, 58% of consumers said they shopped at either a supermarket or a hypermarket in the last four weeks.  

Only half of them, however, did so on a weekly basis. 

“Seven of 10 Malaysian shoppers visit traditional groceries and wet markets at least once a week, but the hypermarkets and supermarkets are only pulling one and 2 (in 10 shoppers) respectively,” he said. 

The modern retail trade sector, which makes up only 5% of total food retail outlets in peninsular Malaysia, attracts only 25% of the combined visits to traditional and modern outlets – one of the lowest proportions among Asia Pacific countries surveyed by ACNielsen. 

It is “very much underdeveloped” in terms of share of total retail trade, Fifield said. 

“Over the next two years we will see a rapid increase in its share,” he said, citing triggering factors such as consolidation, store openings and urbanisation. 

On how retailers could boost sales, Fifield noted that Malaysians tended to shop with their families so retailers should try to entertain the family concept.  

“The modern trade promotion has to have a mix of targets instead of, say, purely going for the female audience,” he said. 

Among the 12 Asia Pacific countries surveyed, Malaysia is a leader when it comes to shopping in groups – 91% shop at hypermarkets accompanied by someone else and the figure is 88% for supermarkets. Only Indonesia has higher percentages. 

“The fact that Malaysia has the lowest shop 'alone' figure in the Asia-Pacific region should come into retailers’ consideration in a big way (in terms of having products on shelves and preparing the facilities),” he said. 

“Shoppers want one-stop shopping that essentially take five minutes and they want more consistency, quality, service, selection, information and convenience. And they want to pay less for it, and they want to do it in less time, with less effort and less risk,” he added. 

At a press conference later, Fifield said that based on retailers’ feedback on the purchase of fast-moving consumer goods, consumer confidence had improved towards the end of last year.  

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