Malaysian retail grows 4.5pc in Q2, but still below target

Soo Wern Jun
RGM credited the improved quarter-on-quarter result to Hari Raya Aidilfitri coming sooner in the quarter, which also spurred consumer purchases. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 12 — The Malaysian retail industry reported a growth of 4.5 per cent in sales for the second quarter of 2019, according to Retail Group Malaysia (RGM).

However, the latest results were below the projected 5.5 per cent, said RGM in its September 2019 Retail Industry report.

The figure was still an improvement over the 2.1 per cent expansion in the same quarter last year.

RGM credited the improved quarter-on-quarter result to Hari Raya Aidilfitri coming sooner in the quarter, which also spurred consumer purchases.

“This has boosted retail spending to a certain extent,” said RGM in a statement today. 

However, RGM said consumer sentiment was still weighed by economic uncertainty arising from external factors.

The second-quarter results gave the industry an aggregate growth figure of 4.2 per cent for the first half of 2019.

RGM said its members were positive about the coming quarter, estimating a 3.2 per cent expansion rate.

“Department store cum supermarket operators anticipate their businesses to improve further with 9.6 per cent in growth rate for the third quarter of this year. 

“This is the highest projection among the retail sub-sectors. The department stores are expecting their businesses to turnaround with a positive growth rate of 4.6 per cent for the third three-month period of this year,” said RGM. 

However, RGM said supermarket and hypermarket operators do not see an end to their decline next quarter and are bracing for an 8.9 per cent contraction.

RGM also said it was revising its full-year forecast for the industry to 4.4 per cent growth, down from 4.9 per cent previously.

With the consideration of the latest market performances, RGM revised the retail sales growth rate for the whole year for a second time, from 4.9 per cent (estimated in June 2019) to 4.4 per cent, anchoring this on a targeted 5.8 per cent sales growth in the fourth quarter that is traditionally the strongest.

“Year-end school holidays, Christmas celebration and aggressive promotions by retailers should move sale of customer goods during this period. Potential interest rate cuts before the end of this year may also boost retail spending as well,” it said. 

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