Crowds return to malls but sales still weak

People are back at shopping malls but they are still not spending, says the Malaysia Shopping Malls Association. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Shopping malls are seeing a recovery of up to 75% in footfall, but sales for most outlets are still weak, according to Malaysia Shopping Malls Association adviser Chan Hoi Choy.

Chan said he believed the poor state of the economy was causing people to shop cautiously.

“Purchasing power remains quite weak. People are affected by pay cuts and a lack of job opportunities. They have shifted their expenditure to other things like dining,” he told FMT.

He said most people were being pulled into the malls by family entertainment outlets and restaurants to socialise and catch up with friends.

But he added that the new requirements for table arrangements meant smaller capacities for restaurants and less income than they were hoping for.

Chan also spoke of retailers adapting to the situation by digitising the shopping experience through such means as click-and-collect services, grocery stock updates on social media and cashless payment.

Standard operating procedures have been compiled into health and safety manuals for mall tenants to refer to and and to give customers a sense of safety.

He said workers in the malls would regularly refer to the manuals.

He also said malls located in residential areas were not affected as badly as the ones in tourist hotspots, which have suffered from the closing of international borders.