Mara Digital Mall traders lament dipping sales, rising rentals

Mara Digital Mall di Bangunan Mara, Kuala Lumpur.

KUALA LUMPUR: Profits have declined but the rental is going up by 5% in November.

These were part of the complaints by traders at the Mara Digital Mall, next to the Pertama Complex along Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman here.

Zabedah Ismail, who runs a shop at the IT mall meant only for Bumiputera traders, said her sales this year had dipped by as much as 60% compared with last year.

She said when the mall opened in December 2015, business for the first year was encouraging with good support from patrons.

“But I do not know what happened after that. This year has been very bad. I feel that maybe it is because no marketing has been done.”

She is also upset that her RM3,500 monthly rental is going up 5%.

“This is a big burden. We will try to go on for another two or three months. If the profits are not much, we will leave,” she added.

Another trader, only wanting to be known as Andy, agreed that sales had decreased significantly in the second year of the centre’s operations.

“Business has been slow lately, probably due to a lack of marketing. Many people still do not know about our IT centre.

“When the mall first opened, there was a lot of publicity on television and newspapers, and sales were fantastic.

“I could sell 25 laptops each day.”

He said he had objected to the hike in rental but could not do anything to stop it.

“We have to acknowledge that it is the management’s right.

“If we compare the rental with that charged at Plaza Low Yat, it is still cheaper here,” he said. “But at Low Yat, the crowds are much bigger.”

Rizq Syahrin Muhammad Rizq Fadzlin, a creative marketing officer with the mall’s sole supplier, WGN Scan Sdn Bhd, declined to comment on the traders’ grouses.

“On the advice of our lawyer, we cannot release any statement,” he told FMT.

Yesterday, Mara announced that it would launch large-scale promotions to boost business at the Bumiputera mall, following reports of falling sales and the dwindling number of customers.

From next month, the Mara Digital Mall will be promoted on a big scale, with the use of LED billboards and advertisement bunting, Mara director-general Azhar Abdul Manaf said.

The mall will also be popularised at Mara educational institutions and local universities.

IT products manufacturers will also hold promotions, including the Acer Road Show, there

Azhar said more than a million people had visited the mall last year, chalking up sales of over RM18 million.

In the first eight months of this year, the number of visitors hit 585,580 and sales exceeding RM7.6 million.

Azhar said the mall would be taking over the entire fourth floor of the building to expand business.

“We are selling original products at competitive prices. The mall does not sell cloned or low-quality products,” he said.

The mall was mooted after a highly-publicised dispute took place at Plaza Low Yat in July 2015 after a youth stole a Lenovo mobile phone valued at RM800 from a shop.

** Ivy Chong contributed to this article.