BUTTERWORTH: As Covid-19 subsides and precautionary rules become more relaxed, face masks, sanitisers and similar items are losing market demand, leading to plunging prices.
Many shops with leftover stock are scrambling to clear them by slashing prices and offering big discounts.
A fashion boutique in Bertam, Kepala Batas, was found selling face masks on a “buy-1-free-3” basis.
“I used to stockpile an entire storeroom of face masks as profit was good at the peak of Covid-19, but it has quickly slowed down in recent months.
“With only a small inventory of face masks left, I would rather clear them to make space on the shelves for clothes as business is back to normal.
“These masks used to sell for RM10 per pack of 10 pieces, but with the promotion now, it’s the same price for 40 pieces.
“Even then, many customers are not keen to buy as they hardly need the face masks anymore,” said the shop’s owner James Lim, 42.
If Lim cannot sell his remaining stock of masks by the end of this month, he plans on disposing them.
At the height of the pandemic, surgical face masks cost RM1.50 apiece, and later peaked to more than RM100 for a box of 50, or RM2 apiece.
On Sept 7, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin announced that wearing of face masks indoors will not be mandatory.
However, the use of masks is still compulsory when using public transport, including on commercial aviation and ehailing, along with health facilities such as clinics and hospitals. Those with Covid-19 symptoms must wear them, while private building owners are allowed to impose face mask rulings on visitors.
At a mobile accessories shop, promoter Intan Syazreen Sobri, 24, said they are offering discounts on face masks, disinfectant spray guns and oximeters.
“Right after the government announced the relaxation of rules on Sept 7, we quickly dropped the prices of face masks from RM18 to RM10 per box. Spray guns, which used to sell for RM78, are now RM38 each. We are still getting a good response from shoppers due to the price drop, but demand is not as high as before,” she said.