Two years on, Mara Digital Mall losing its shine?


PETALING JAYA: It was touted as a competitor for information communications technology (ICT) mall Low Yat Plaza at its opening two years ago, but today, Mara Digital Mall is reportedly struggling with a decline in sales and number of patrons.

Mara Digital Mall, also known as “Low Yat 2”, was launched on Dec 8, 2015, following a much-publicised dispute at Low Yat Plaza in July that year when a youth allegedly stole a RM800 Lenovo smartphone from one of the shops there.

Unlike Low Yat Plaza, Mara Digital Mall caters specifically to Bumiputera entrepreneurs, and is aimed at assisting them in breaking through the ICT market.

The proposal for the platform reserved specifically for Malay-Bumiputera traders received mixed reactions at the time, but the mall appeared to do well at first.

Last December, Rural and Regional Development Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said Mara Digital Mall had recorded a turnover of RM18.4 million as of November that year.

He said this proved wrong the cynics who had said that the mall would not last long.

According to The Malaysian Reserve, however, traders are now seeing a decrease in sales which they attribute to a lack of product variation, competitive prices and slow publicity.

This is despite the mall’s strategic location near Sogo Mall and Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman in Kuala Lumpur.

Faizal Johari, who is a manager at Acer Inc Concept Store, told the portal that his business had done well for the first few months, but that his customers had eventually returned to Low Yat Plaza.

In the report, he said traders at Mara Digital Mall could not compete with those at Low Yat Plaza, who sold their products at lower prices.

“We can sell at cheaper price if we have high volume, but that is impossible without visibility. We can’t even lower our prices because we are required to get our supplies from a sole vendor.

“If we are given the freedom to choose our suppliers, we might be able to lower our prices,” he was quoted as saying.

According to The Malaysian Reserve, products sold at Mara Digital Mall are generally 10% to 12% more expensive than those available at Low Yat Plaza.

This is not the first time concerns have been raised over these issues.

In December last year, traders said they were worried that the inability of the sole supplier, WGN Scan Sdn Bhd (WGN), to ensure a constant supply of IT products would affect consumer confidence.

One of them, Mohamad Fadzly Rahmat, said many of his customers had complained that the items they wanted were not available.

“If we don’t have the items, then people will not be satisfied with the service here. Mara Digital Mall is an IT centre not a pasar malam (night market),” he had said, adding that his customers grumbled each time they were given the “no stock” excuse.