Despite the pandemic challenges, Sunway Malls said that the mall group has been enjoying higher traffic and sales recovery since the easing of restrictions from the Lunar New Year period onwards.
According to the latest March 2021 figures, both traffic and sales had achieved 90% and 95% normalcy respectively in comparison to the same period in March 2019.
Sunway noted in a statement that the success is largely attributed to the mall group’s expertise in mall property management across the dimensions of financial, operations, leasing and marketing in responding to the Covid-19 crisis.
It added although malls in Malaysia generally enjoyed strong traffic every festive season, this year’s festive season got off to a muted start when Malaysia saw 6 of its states re-entered the Movement Control Order (MCO2.0), namely Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Johor, Melaka and Sabah, in mid-January.
All malls under the group are located in the affected states.
“Given the weak start to 2021, Sunway Malls began re-strategising to deal with the repercussions of MCO2.0. Having gained a significant amount of insights on behavioural economics, behavioural psychology, travelling pattern and spending pattern enable better intervention strategies to be deployed,’ said HC Chan, CEO of Sunway Malls & Theme Parks.
He added that Sunway mall’s focus area had been to concentrate in driving returning traffic particularly capitalising on revenge spending, deferred festive buying and pent-up demand for F&B dining.
Similarly, emphasis was given to value-retailing amidst the weak consumer sentiments and sluggish economy.
“Due to economic uncertainties, many consumers today are quick to accept value-retailing and have a strong tendency to be attracted to rewards that give them more value. We saw the upward trajectory of our tenant sales since we ran value-retailing campaigns and we doubled up the effort, resulting in higher recovery of tenant sales and traffic,” said Chan.
He added since the pandemic began, Sunway Malls has supported its retailers through various initiatives. The mall group was the first in the country to announce a 14-day rent-waiver in March, followed by further rent rebates, rental assistance programmes, and RM15million marketing campaigns throughout the year to boost sales.
Sunway Malls was again the first to announce a flexi operating hour option for retailers, to allow better optimization of staffing arrangement and enable retailers to cut down their operating costs.
Since MCO1.0 till date, the mall group has reported less than 1% of its retailers shutting down their operations.
On contrary, Sunway Malls welcomed 200 new shop opening with a NLA of 700,000 sqft across its malls last year equivalent to a normal size mall with 100% occupancy, a healthy retail space demand driven by the growing emergence and expansion of Asian retail brands.