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Freeze new shopping mall licences, says Malaysia Retail Chain Association

Inside KLCC Malaysia Mall - Retail in Asia

The Malaysia Retail Chain Association (MRCA) has asked the government to temporarily freeze issuing licences for new shopping malls to curb the oversupply of retail space.

Its deputy president, Valerie Choo, said the number of shopping malls was likely to grow between 2017 and 2018 and this would strain the retailers’ margins.

“There will be over 50 per cent increase in shopping mall space (once the new shopping malls are ready). Too many shopping malls can be tough on the retailers as well,” she told reporters at a MRCA hosted media session.

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Choo said the retail industry has been impacted by the economic slowdown and the weakening ringgit had led to an increase in overhead costs.

“We depend on imported goods, which have increased tremendously. We have been trying our best not to raise prices, but how long can we do it,” said Choo.

She said the Indonesia has decided to freeze shopping malls development to curb oversupply which has slowed the growth of its retail industry. Choo also urged the government to spur the tourism industry to help boost sales of retailers in shopping malls.

“The tourists can take advantage of the weaker ringgit. It will help to increase spending in shopping malls,” said Choo.

MRCA represents over 300 retailers in Malaysia covering over 20,000 outlets and provide over 100,000 jobs.