Malaysian retail sales fell by 30.9 per cent in the second quarter of this year, the worst period in 33 years.
And retail industry observers remain pessimistic about the rest of the year, despite Covid-19 restrictions being eased.
Retail Group Malaysia, which compiles retail sales data on behalf of the Malaysia Retailers Association (MRA), is predicting consumers will remain conservative in their spending during the last three months of this year, after the six-month restrictions come to an end on September 30.
“This year has been the worst period for retailers in Malaysia since 1987,” said RGM in a statement. “The retail market turned into a bloodbath since the middle of March with the implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO).
“With consideration of the latest growth revisions and market conditions, RGM has revised the retail sales growth rate for the whole year from negative 8.7 per cent to negative 9.3 per cent. This is the fourth revision in the annual growth rate of Malaysia retail industry.”
In contrast to other nations in Asia during the Covid-19 crisis, supermarkets and hypermarkets posted a 9.9 per cent reduction in sales in the June quarter.
But hybrid department stores and supermarkets fared even worse, down 34.6 per cent, wholesalers at standalone department stores shrank by 62.3 per cent.
Apparel and accessories retailers saw sales drop by 44.2 per cent and pharmacies by 26.2 per cent and other specialty stores by 40.9 per cent.