KUALA LUMPUR: The outlook for shopping malls has improved and footfalls are returning to normal, said RHB Asset Management Malaysia head of equity research Petrina Chong.
“I have seen various malls in Malaysia and there has been a pick-up in footfalls. The quality malls still have the ability to draw in crowds and people still come out to do their basic shopping, ” Chong said at a RHB Asset Management webinar titled Investing in REITs – Risk or Opportunity.
“Some are even doing their luxury shopping. For example, there were queues at the Louis Vuitton shop in one of the (main) shopping malls. In terms of consumer sentiment, we do see a gradual recovery already coming through, ” she added.
However, she said the city centre malls are expected to lag behind the flagship suburban malls due to the lack of foreign tourists.
“They will be slightly less crowded because tourist arrivals feature quite heavily. About 20% of the daily shopper traffic here are mainly foreign visitors, ” Chong said.
Meanwhile, Chong said that according to industry statistics, the hospitality REITs segment has seen a demand collapse.
“Data from the Malaysian Association of Hotels show that the occupancy rates in 2020 have very much collapsed. Compared to the average 60 odd percent in the previous year, this has come down to around 20%, ” she said.
“Some of the hotels in the KL city centre have been used up as quarantine facilities for people who are arriving from overseas. So some occupancy is taken up here but it is still not compared to what it has been before, ” she added.
Chong said she expected to see some recovery in this segment once July and August statistics come out.
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