Change is upon us now. The retail sector is notably one of, if not the biggest sector, which has been badly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. For the first time in 22 years, Malaysia’s retail sales saw a contraction by as much as 15.8% this year, as retailers across the country fail to make their cash registers ring as much as they had hoped for.
Over the years, malls have become a symbol of consumerism and go-to hubs. But the pace of change is happening so rapidly that maybe it is time to rethink shopping malls.
Did you know that as of 2019, there are 560 shopping malls, with a total floor space of 135 million sqft, throughout Malaysia?
Now that is a lot of malls, not to mention an awful lot of space to fill too – and yet there are rumours about establishing 2 more malls in Sabah, specifically in Kota Kinabalu.
Do we even have the buying power and population for another mall in Kota Kinabalu?
The unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic has permanently changed the retail world. More consumers have turned to online shopping than ever before, and foot traffic to malls has decreased in recent years. The pandemic outbreak has only sped up this trend, as health and safety concerns meant that shoppers are more comfortable purchasing things with just a few clicks whilst munching on some Pringles on the sofa.
Before the pandemic, shoppers flocked malls for the hands-on experience: Eating gourmet samples at the grocery store. Spending an afternoon watching Avengers: Endgame at the cinema. Trying on that new Toasted Mauve shade lipstick at the beauty counter. Swiping the Platinum credit card on a long-desired purchase.
As shopping malls continue to evolve, retail stores will have to reinvent themselves to stay relevant and make the most of their pricey retail store space. Covid-19 has only accelerated the two parallel processes: the eCommerce boom and the fall of the malls.
As a result, owners and its retailers are scrambling their brains to figure out how to stand out for the opposite reason to revive the mall’s foot traffic and sales. They should look at any means possible to make it easier for customers to avoid shared surfaces and limit interactions with employees and other customers.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and not intended to malign any company, individual or necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any agency or organization. Focal Times is a subsidiary of Maxworld Consulting Sdn Bhd, a regional organization founded by a mixture of agile and experienced corporate finance, venture capital and industrial experts. This establishment focuses on sharing current banking affairs, latest property developments and updates and more.