Mara Digital Mall mulls future as foot traffic forecast to fall 50%

WGN Scan taking a step back to study biz model and performance to find right way moving forward

By AFIQ AZIZ / Pic By ISMAIL CHE RUS

Mara Digital Mall, an initiative by Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara) that caught the public’s attention when its “lacklustre performance” was discussed in Parliament last year, could experience yet another challenging year with its foot traffic expected to decline 50%.

WGN Scan Sdn Bhd, the mall’s anchor tenant which also manages the entire space on behalf of Mara, has also forecast lower revenue from all the tenants.

Wan Mohamad Zaffuan says Mara Digital Mall’s expansion is expected to cost about RM500,000 (Pic by Ismail Che Rus)

WGN Scan ED Wan Mohamad Zaffuan Wan Mohamad Zin told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) in an exclusive interview that the mall previously reported an annual foot traffic of about a million patrons.

“We are expecting a lower number this year. This might also affect sales for all the tenants who are doing business here,” he said.

The mall began its operation in December 2015 as part of Mara’s initiative to promote authentic information and communication technology (ICT) products for Bumiputera entrepreneurs. Wan Mohamad Zaffuan said the mall clocked in an average annual turnover of about RM19 million in the last two years.

However, in the first half of this year, WGN Scan only recorded between RM4 million and RM5 million, which is attributed to a “slower promotional exercise”.

“It has been 21⁄2 years since our establishment. So, we are taking a step back to study our business model and performance, and find the right way moving forward,” he said.

The company has also engaged its tenants and consumers in a simple survey to find ways to improve the mall’s performance.

“Based on the survey, we have identified two projects. The first one is the establishment of the first IT Hyperstore at the mall by the fourth quarter of this year.

“Secondly, we are looking to increase the variety of products by attracting new retailers that are interested to promote other forms of gadgets, such as electronic sports gear, to be part of the mall,” Wan Mohamad Zaffuan said.

He said the proposed IT Hyperstore would add another 3,000 sq ft of space that would result in an additional RM1 million in sales per month, on top of the current RM1.5 million monthly revenue.

“Construction works will start soon and it will be operational by October. Hopefully, once the store is opened, our current sales will also pick up,”

Wan Mohamad Zaffuan said. He said the expansion is expected to cost about RM500,000. The IT Hyperstore is expected to sell about 300 computer original components, including motherboards, hard disks, graphics card and processors.

He said the company also plans to collaborate with Mara to include more entrepreneurs who are under the agency’s purview to be part of the mall’s product diversification exercise.

Mara Digital Mall now has more than 30 entrepreneurs and retailers selling various ICT products, mainly mobile phones and computers.

Wan Mohamad Zaffuan said only four kiosks are presently vacant, while all the standalone outlets are fully occupied.

A year ago, TMR reported that the mall is losing its lustre barely two years after its grand opening, with retailers claiming that their business suffered due to slow foot traffic at the building.