Sharpening retailers' business skills more useful than allocation of mall lots, groups tell govt

PETALING JAYA: Equipping aspiring retailers with the skills and knowledge to run a business and stay competitive is more useful than special allocations for shopping mall lots, the government has been told.

In a joint statement, the Malaysia Shopping Malls Association and Malaysia REIT Managers Association said this would be more positive and progressive than arbitrarily giving them prominent spots in malls.

“Forced location and (a misfit of) retailers in the mall and retail industry without in-depth considerations will disadvantage and burden the recipient (and also) harm the entire synergistic structure of the retail cluster,” the associations said on Monday (Dec 6).

Previously, as part of efforts to increase bumiputra participation in the economy, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the government is proposing a quota for bumiputra-owned businesses in strategic locations such as shopping malls.

He also said the quotas would be transparent and fairly managed so that their ultimate goal can be achieved in line with the Malaysian Family aspirations.

However, the associations said that if businesses are to succeed in the long run, a solid financial foundation is critical on top of being able to adapt to changes and trends.

They said race or status do not matter when it comes to operations in shopping malls, but acuity in doing business is more critical.

They added that the present system of allocating lots in malls aimed to create a synergy that reinforces and mutually supports players within the various zones or clusters on the premises.

“Clusters within malls such as luxury fashion, 'masstige' (prestige for the masses) fashion, F&B, and entertainment zones are functioning examples.

“The selection of retailers is based on the fit and match of merchandise, brands and service. Strong brands, both local and international, have more bargaining power to demand conditions such as brand mix and the tenants allowed in a cluster.

“What is critical is that the merchandise and services offered are able to accommodate and match the needs and wants of (shoppers), and fit the brand and tenant mix within the respective cluster, so that there is no anomaly or incongruity,” they added.

The groups suggested that for a start, the government could acquire franchises of established brands and match them with suitably trained and qualified candidates who have the right aptitude and business acumen.

“The sought-after brand will then fit into the brand and tenant mix, and benefit from the (resulting) synergy.

“Starting out with an established brand will inherently give the business a head start and advantage in brand recognition, and attract customers,” the statement said.

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