RETAIL and wholesale sales rose 15.2% to RM128 billion in April, propelled by Aidilfitri spending and excess liquidity from the special RM10,000 withdrawal facility from the Employees Provident Fund.
The easing of Covid-19 restrictions and the opening of the economy saw millions of people flooding shopping complexes and business premises, boosting businesses that had suffered massive losses from the almost two-year pandemic.
Motor vehicle sector rose 11.3% to RM15.4 billion but chip shortages saw manufacturers struggling to fulfil demand during the festive period, traditionally a good period for car sales.
The Department of Statistics Malaysia said the April figure is higher than the 9.8% increase recorded in March.
Its chief statistician Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin said the retail trade subsector rose RM9.3 billion or 20.9% to RM53.6 billion while wholesale businesses expanded 11.5% to RM59 billion.
“Generally, the overall increase of 15.2% in the wholesale and retail trade was due to Aidilfitri celebration which falls in early May. For month-on-month comparison, sales value of wholesale and retail trade increased 3.4%,” he said in a statement.
Other retail subsectors also recorded positive growth with specialised stores up by 19.2%; household goods (16%); automotive fuels (37.7%); food, beverages and tobacco (15.5%); and cultural and recreation goods (15.5%).
He said sales of motor vehicle parts and accessories also rose 31.1% to RM3.8 billion.
However, Mohd Uzir said on a monthly basis, sales of motor vehicles dropped 16.5% as the industry continued to be plagued by chip shortages.
Most vehicle manufacturers also recorded lower sales in April, citing chip shortages to the drop. Consumers also had to wait longer for the delivery of their cars. — by AZALEA AZUAR / pic MUHD AMIN NAHARUL