KUALA LUMPUR: Sunway Malls traffic and sales returned to 100 per cent normalcy in the fourth quarter of 2021 (4Q2021), in comparison to the pre-pandemic levels of 4Q2019.

In a statement today, the company said among the key drivers aiding the recovery was driven by strong pent-up demand, festive seasonality, a high percentage of the fully vaccinated population, and de-escalating COVID-19 daily numbers.

The 100 per cent normality recovery in 4Q2021 came in higher against the 70 per cent normality recovery in 4Q2020, the mall group said.

Sunway Malls and Theme Parks chief executive officer Chan Hoi Choy said despite the seriousness of the headwinds last year, Sunway Malls recorded a recovery level of 100 per cent in 4Q2021, outpacing its highest recovery rate in 2020 which stood at 90 per cent in 3Q2020.

“Ninety two per cent of our retailers reported sales recovery with 32 per cent saw sales recovery exceeding 100 per cent, which included jewellery, health and personal care, and digital lifestyle, among others.

“Fashion and beauty categories recovered between 80 and 85 per cent, while food and beverages (F&B) saw recovery between 85 and 90 per cent,” he said.

Chan further said that on an aggregated basis, F&B recovery was slightly above non-F&B, which was between five and 10 per cent.

He explained that preliminary January 2022 data indicated that the momentum is still sustaining well with traffic on January 1 being the best traffic count for the past 22 months.

“The group expects a strong January performance. For 1H2022, consumer confidence is expected to remain robust, driven by gradual pick-up in economic activities and the ongoing booster shot rate,” he said.

Meanwhile, Chan believes that the Bantuan Keluarga Malaysia cash assistance programme is expected to provide an additional boost to consumers’ purchasing power.

He said that if there were no serious derailments from current or emerging COVID-19 variants, as well as a total national lockdown, the initiative should pave the way for a more progressive, robust, and stable domestic growth, along with continued retail recovery.

“However, short term supply chain shortage, higher business cost and strengthening of the US dollar will weigh heavily in the next few quarters, but better gross domestic product (GDP) growth and export performance will strengthen the ringgit,” he said.

In tandem with stronger GDP growth, the mall group performance and recovery is expected to be progressive with fewer headwinds in line with broader economic indicators improvement.

“Sunway Malls would continue its expansion mode with the development of more retail space. We have added 500,000 square feet (sq ft) retail space expansion in Sunway Carnival Mall, Penang, which has been 95 per cent leased out and expected to open April 1, 2022.

“The group also recently announced plans to build a mall with a retail space of 700,000 sq ft

in Sunway City Ipoh, which is expected to be completed by 2025,” he added. – Bernama

Source: The Star, January 19, 2022

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