Sunway launches e-mall on retail biz recovery

Sunway eMall will complement the group’s current combined 4.5m sq ft of physical retail space across 7 malls


SUNWAY Bhd reports a steady recovery of its retail business with the opening of all its malls, with traffic normality at 80% as of October 2021, compared to the same pre-pandemic period of 2019.

The company expected to attain full traffic normality by the end of 2021.

This follows a series of measures taken by the company to improve business, including its e-commerce platform Sunway, which will be launched on Oct 27.

The new platform will be integrated with the group’s seven malls in Malaysia and will offer online shoppers access to a wide range of products and services and complement their physical shopping experience.

Sunway Malls and Theme Park CEO HC Chan (picture) said Sunway eMall will complement the group’s current combined 4.5 million sq ft of physical retail space across seven malls.

“It amalgamates our seven physical malls’ presence into one digital mall. Through this exercise, Sunway Malls’ portfolio has also grown to eight malls — physically and digitally,” he said in a recent statement.

Sunway eMall will be a one-stop centre for customers to fulfil all their needs.

The new e-commerce platform complements the group’s physical malls and aims to offer an offline-to-online-to-offline experience for customers, with the ability to seamlessly switch between both domains.

Aside from completing the physical-digital mall presence, the mall group sees the e-commerce platform as insurance and a contingency against unforeseen geographic or retail subsectors’ lockdown.

The company noted that since the Covid-19 pandemic began in 2019, the online and offline retail markets have been disrupted.

However, it considered the new e-commerce platform as a way to offer an alternative for customers.

An estimated 14% growth per year is expected in the e-commerce market in the next five years in South-East Asia, with online shoppers forecasted to reach 380 million by 2026.

“What we have witnessed over the last 20 months was the unpredictability of how such a lockdown can be — its suddenness and its duration, which is very disruptive.

“For the record, the retail industry faced 153 days of closure in 2021 relative to 47 days of closure in 2020. Sunway eMall will allow retailers some form of business continuity if this ever happens again,” said Chan.

He added that what separates pure e-commerce players is the option for in-store collection apart from delivery, which is a further catalyst in driving more footfall into Sunway malls.

An initial 200 merchants have already signed up for the new e-commerce platform, with more than 30,000 stock keeping units (SKUs) available ranging from apparel, footwear and accessories to beauty products, groceries and home furnishings.

Sunway eMall is projected to grow this to 500 merchants with 100,000 SKUs over the next 18 months.