Malaysian shopping centre operator Sunway Malls aims to focus on the country’s northern region in the coming years after the expansion of its Sunway Carnival Mall at Penang’s Seberang Jaya.
While a few retail developments are planned in central Malaysia, two new malls are set to open in the northern region, one on Penang Island and the other at Ipoh. CEO of Sunway Malls & Theme Parks, HC Chan, said both malls, which are still in the design and concept stage, will have around 1 million sqft of net lettable area.
According to the group, the next five years will see the number of Sunway Malls’ physical shopping centres increasing from seven to 12.
The expansion announcement is in line with the launch of the newly renovated Sunway Carnival Mall, which saw retail space doubling to 1 million sqft and store count up by 60 per cent to 350. The retailer expects the occupancy rate to increase progressively during the next three months from 80 per cent. With 95 per cent of space leased, the mall is projected to be fully leased during this year’s second half.
“There are a lot of potential upsides since Penang has one of the highest levels of urbanisation in the country at 91 per cent with a population density of 1500 persons per square kilometre,” said Chan.
“Its strong fundamentals of the highly urbanised, affluent and discerning market; and with the return to normalcy through the endemicity transition and international borders re-opening, this expansion is certainly timely.”
The group forecasted that profitability would return to the pre-pandemic level with a 20 per cent increase in the second quarter of this year compared to the same period in 2019.