Festive boost expected for retailers

Abundant supply: Prices of mandarin oranges have come down considerably thanks to good weather.

DESPITE the sluggish market environment in 2018, retailers are optimistic that sales would pick up thanks to the Chinese New Year celebration.

Ban Hin Bee Sdn Bhd general manager Wilson Yeoh says consumers had held back on buying essential and household products for the most part of 2018.

“However, in November and December, we saw an increase in the sales of new large screen televisions, kitchen appliances, coffee machines, and wine cellars, although the pricing had gone up by 5% to 10% because of a weaker ringgit.

“We expect the trend to continue in January and February,” he adds.

Yeoh says the company planned to launch more promotional and warehouse sales this year as consumers continue to hunt for bargains.

“Last year, our promotional and warehouse sales improved by 100%, as consumers continue to hunt for premium products with attractive pricing. For example, you can find washing machines, televisions, and refrigerators with discounts of up to 30% at our promotional and warehouse events,” Yeoh says.

This will certainly help drive sales for the company amidst what is expected to be a slow year.

E-commerce push: Hwang expects online sales to double this year.

Suiwah Corp Bhd executive director Cynthia Hwang concurs, noting that retail sales can be seen picking up for now as the Lunar celebrations draw closer.

“For our online shopping business, we expect 100% growth in 2019. We have recently launched the Sunshine Outlet, our e-commerce platform, on Shopee’s portal.

“With one of the largest customer base and an active listing of around 28 million, Shopee brings Sunshine to everyone’s doorstep. Our out-station customers can now access our products and services on-line,” she says.

Sunshine Outlet kicked off with 1,500 products ranging from canned and packed food and organic consumer goods to household supplies.

Hwang says in today’s competitive environment, the emphasis is on speed, time to serve, and time to respond.

“For this reason, we will continue to build our e-commerce and digital capabilities to save customers’ time and money,” she says.

Meanwhile, festive products such as mandarin oranges have seen prices come down by about 10% this Chinese New Year season.

Chop Tong Guan Sdn Bhd managing director Koay Swee Aik says last year, the Yong Chun district in Fujian province was not hit by typhoon, which shifted to Guangdong and Hong Kong.

“The mandarin orange crop, therefore, was not damaged and increased by 20% in total production. We now have an abundant supply and the price has come down by about 10%.

“Although the ringgit has weakened, you can still see the difference in prices compared to a year ago,” Koay notes.

He adds that the size of the oranges is also larger this time round.

Pent-up demand: Retailer Ban Hin Bee sees increased sales for the start of 2019.
Pent-up demand: Retailer Ban Hin Bee sees increased sales for the start of 2019.

“Each mandarin orange measures 75mm-85mm in size. We are bringing in 5,000 tonnes of mandarin oranges under the Tian Tian brand name, which will have a market value of about RM22mil,” he says.

According to Koay, the Tian Tian mandarin oranges, which includes Pong Kam and Lor Kam, are exclusively grown with good orchard management and post harvest control to ensure premium quality with good taste.

“We have been bringing them in since the 1990s and they have sustainably gained consumers’ preference and loyalty,” he adds.

Chop Tong Guan supplies imported fruits to hypermarkets, supermarkets, wholesalers and traditional wet markets around the country.

“We now have four cold rooms and warehouses in Malaysia, and lately, opened a retail shop of premium fruits name FruitsDeli at Pulau Tikus, Penang.

“Our customers value our cold rooms highly, our repacking facilities, reefer logistic delivery service and our strong merchandising team to deliver the best fruits to the sales floor for consumers” he says.

According to The Conference Board Global Consumer Confidence Survey, in collaboration with Nielsen Malaysia, the Malaysian consumer confidence index continued its surge in the third quarter of 2018 to 127 percentage points, up 10 points from the previous quarter and up 31 points versus the third quarter of 2017.

This is the highest recorded confidence score in Malaysia, propelling the country to become the third most confident country behind India and Vietnam, says the report.

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Business , retail , Chinese New Year


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