Malaysian retailers hit by coronavirus

Malaysian retailers operating in tourist zones have seen sales plunge in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. 

Locally headquartered leathergoods retailer Bonia says sales have fallen by as much as 77 per cent in one location and were down overall as fewer Chinese travelled to Malaysia and locals avoided crowded locations to reduce their exposure to the virus. 

Besides its own brand, Bonia also operates stores under the Braun Buffel, Sembonia, Renoma and Valentino Rudy banners.

In an email to The Edge, a Bonia spokesperson said sales had dropped 30 per cent overall in the first 17 days of February, the peak, so far, of the virus outbreak. 

“Our Genting Highlands outlet has been tremendously affected,” he said. “The key factor is Covid-19, which has made tourist numbers decline, while local consumers are shying away from crowded malls during their weekend outings.”

Sales at the Genting Highlands store were down 77 per cent and at the Pavilion shopping centre in Kuala Lumpur by 35 per cent, year on year.


Stores in Johor Bahru and Penang have also been hit. 

Another retailer, Corn In a Cup, has experienced a drop in  sales of between 15 and 40 per cent, with the worst-affected store the one at Zoo Negara, where daily sales usually run from 200 to 300.

“We have been operating at the zoo for over 10 years,” he told The Edge. “Never before in history have we only sold one cup of corn in a day.” 

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