Concurrent Session C: “Reviving Retail: The Way Forward”
The retail sector, including malls, is one of the worst-hit sectors during the pandemic. Due to lockdowns, the retail sector contracted 16% in 2020, its worst performance since the 1998 Asian financial crisis*, with double-digit contractions for apparel, footwear, and fashion accessories. Even hypermarkets, supermarkets, and convenience stores recorded a drop in total sales due to lower footfall. Online shopping, however, has seen a substantial increase in sales, with e-commerce revenues shooting up 30% in 1Q 2021 y-o-y, after registering steady growth in 2020**.
The statistics indicate the need to migrate to, or incorporate, e-commerce, even for traditional shopping malls that rely on footfall. What are the difficulties that lie ahead, and is there a sweet spot that combines the best of traditional retail and online shopping?
*Malaysia Retail Sales Report (March 2021)
**Department of Statistics Malaysia