Sales growth fails to meet Malaysian retailers’ expectations

Malaysian retailers have had a lower-than-expected growth rate of 7.5 per cent in second-quarter sales.

Independent retail research firm Retail Group Malaysia (RGM), which tabulates quarterly data, says the latest result was “below market expectation”.

“It was 24 per cent lower than the estimate made by members of Malaysian Retailers Association [MRA] in June, at 9.9 per cent,” says RGM. It notes the second quarter marked the first anniversary of the Goods & Services Tax (GST) implemented by the government, which resulted in retail sales tumbling 11.9 per cent – the worst quarterly growth rate since 1999.

“For the first six months of this year, the retail sale growth rate was 0.5 per cent compared to the same period a year ago,” RGM says.

Retail sales rebounded from GST during the second quarter, but the extent of recovery varied greatly between sub-sectors. The department store/supermarket sub-sector recovered from poor performance during the first quarter with 3.9 per cent growth during the subsequent quarter.

Meanwhile, the department store sub-sector bounced back with 21.1 per cent growth during the second quarter. “This sub-sector was the best performer during this latest quarter,” says RGM. This was its first recovery after four conservative quarters of negative growth rates.”

The supermarket/hypermarket sub-sector had 8.7 per cent growth, also the first recovery for the sub-sector after four conservative quarters of negative growth.

Returning to black, the fashion/accessories sub-sector had 6.5 per cent growth, while the pharmacy/personal-care sub-sector recovered from weak sales with 7.5 per cent growth.

“With the weak economy and more price increases expected for retail goods and services before the end of this year, Malaysian consumers will continue to stay cautious in their spending,” says RGM.


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