DESPITE challenges brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, Sunway Malls – the retail division of Sunway Group – says that its latest March 2021 figures show traffic and sales had achieved 90% and 95% normalcy respectively, in comparison to the same period in 2019.
Sunway Malls and Theme Parks chief executive officer H.C. Chan says that having learnt from the experiences of the first MCO, the second was not as detrimental.
“We had certainly grown in experience and tested both our capability and resolve. We are also fortunate that businesses were able to adapt very quickly.
“By adopting the maxim of shared prosperity and shared burden with our retailers, we have certainly built a stronger relation with our retailers and other stakeholders, ” he says.
Sunway Malls also attributes this success to the group’s expertise in mall property management across the financial, operations, leasing and marketing dimensions in response to the pandemic.
“To deal with the repercussions of the second MCO, (we) gained a significant amount of insights on behavioural economics, behavioural psychology, travelling and spending patterns to enable better intervention strategies to be deployed, ” he says.
Furthermore, two of its malls recently bagged gold awards as Malaysia’s best managed malls.
Sunway Pyramid won EdgeProp’s best managed property in the retail category 10 years and above, while Sunway Velocity Mall won best managed property in the retail category below 10 years.
As a group, Sunway is a triple gold winner with office building Sunway Geo Tower also recognised as a best managed property under the single-owned office in a mixed strata below 10 years category.
Meanwhile, Sunway Malls and its retailers invested RM1mil in prizes and cash vouchers during its one-month sales-driven campaign in March.
“Due to economic uncertainties, many consumers today are quick to accept value-retailing and have a strong tendency to be attracted to rewards that give them more value.
“We saw the upward trajectory of our tenant sales since we ran value-retailing campaigns and we doubled the effort, resulting in higher recovery of tenant sales and traffic, ” Chan says.
Apart from spend and redeem campaigns, since the pandemic began Sunway Malls has supported its retailers through various initiatives.
It was one of the first in the country to announce a 14-day rent-waiver in March, followed by further rent rebates, rental assistance programmes and RM15mil marketing campaigns throughout the year to boost sales.
Sunway Malls was again one of the first to announce a flexi operating hours option for retailers, to allow better optimisation of staffing arrangement and enable retailers to cut down their operating costs.
Since the first MCO in March 2020, the mall group has reported less than 1% of its retailers shutting down their operations.
Instead, it welcomed some 200 new shop openings with a combined net lettable area of 700,000sq ft across its malls last year – equivalent to a normal size mall with 100% occupancy, a healthy retail space demand driven by the growing emergence and expansion of Asian retail brands.