Cautious about another Covid-19 wave, Malaysian retailers predict 6pc recovery in 2022

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Shoppers return to the Gurney Paragon Mall in George Town August 18, 2021. ― Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
Shoppers return to the Gurney Paragon Mall in George Town August 18, 2021. ― Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 7 — The Retail Group Malaysia (RGM) is cautiously optimistic that its sector will see 6 per cent growth in sales next year, after surviving the Covid-19 challenges of 2021.

In a report released today, the group said it is looking forward to an uptick after two years of disruptions to business in brick-and-mortar stores but also expressed reservations about next year’s outlook.

“The high daily positive cases remain worrisome. A potential fourth-wave pandemic is haunting Malaysian retailers. Malaysian non-essential retailers cannot afford another forced closure of physical stores,” RGM said.

It expressed trepidations about the effect that Omicron, the latest Covid-19 variant of concern, may have on next year’s businesses, noting that more cases have been reported globally.

“The Malaysian government has decided to delay the country's transition into the endemic phase due to uncertainty of the virus pandemic, and foreign tourists' arrival may be affected due to the current virus development,” it said.

RGM also said that a number of retail businesses have been dependent on leisure travellers and its recovery was heavily reliant on government policies on our borders.

Also posing a challenge to their recovery is the recent spike in prices of many consumers' goods which is likely to continue next year.

“The rising cost of living will affect the purchasing power of Malaysian households in 2022,” it said.

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