Malls face RM2bil losses


Malaysia Shopping Malls Association president Tan Sri Teo Chiang Kok said once the MCO is lifted, it would still take some time for mall operators to go back to “business as usual.”

PETALING JAYA: Malaysian shopping malls could face losses north of RM2bil as a result of business disruptions caused by the movement control order (MCO), which has been extended to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Malaysia Shopping Malls Association president Tan Sri Teo Chiang Kok said once the MCO is lifted, it would still take some time for mall operators to go back to “business as usual.”

“Once the MCO is lifted in the middle of April, the following one month will be slow, ” he told StarBiz.Teo said that while the MCO was bad for business, he admitted that it was “a necessary evil.”

“When the MCO is lifted, the government needs to ensure that the mechanisms are in place for businesses to pick up where they left off. If businesses fail or factories close down, it will be very difficult to recover, ” he said.

The MCO, which was originally scheduled to end on March 31, has been extended to April 14 due to the growing number of Covid-19 infections in the country.

Knight Frank Malaysia retail consultancy and leasing associate director Ben Ooi said Malaysian retailers, especially those located at tourist zones, have been experiencing sales decline at their outlets at the onset of the Covid-19 outbreak.

“With the public staying at home during the current extended MCO, retail and entertainment outlets, with the exception of those providing essential goods/ services, have no sales as they are not allowed to operate.

“While retail spending on non-essential goods are not the focus at this moment, demand for essential goods is increasing. Online shopping and delivery services are gaining popularity, ” he said in a statement on Saturday.

Once the MCO is lifted, Ooi said occupancy of malls will be under pressure as some retail outlets may be forced to close due to the strain on their cashflow and unsustainable businesses.

““Landlords and retailers have to step up measures during this MCO to educate the public when doing their grocery shopping, such as providing hand sanitiser and marking zoning on where to stand in the lifts.“Landlords are also stepping up during the MCO to assist retailers by introducing relief measures, for example rent free package for non-food and beverage-related retailers and rental rebates for retailers, ” he said.

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