M'sian consumers to go on shopping sprees from next month until CNY

PETALING JAYA - The year-end sale, which kicks off next month and the Christmas season in December is expected to drive spending in the local retail sector in the fourth quarter.

Malaysian Association for Shopping and Highrise Complex Management past president Richard Chan said the spending would then continue until January with the Chinese New Year.

"The months after that will be slow for the retail industry," he added.

However, he was uncertain if the retail industry in the current quarter could grow as much as it did in the corresponding period in 2012. "I don't know if sales in this quarter will surpass sales achieved last year. If we can at least maintain the growth, it would be fantastic," he said.

For the current quarter, Retail Group Malaysia (RGM) in its report in August, said it was revising its estimated growth rate from 5.8 per cent (forecast in May 2013) to 6 per cent in anticipation of slightly better retail sales during school holiday, year-end sales and festivals.

For the whole of 2013, RGM has revised slightly downwards its growth forecast of the retail industry of Malaysia from 6.4 per cent (updated in May 2013) to 6.2 per cent. It said the retail industry was expected to expand to RM93.2bil this year. This is the second revision of the industry growth forecast this year.

An analyst said he was cautiously optimistic about retail industry growth for the remainder of 2013. "The year-end is often a period when malls have sales. It's also a time when employees get their year-end bonuses," he said.

He added the recent fuel price hikes were unlikely to have an impact on consumer spending in the current quarter.

"The year-end sales promotions and bonuses should mitigate this."

For 2014, RGM is predicting a 6 per cent growth for the retail industry. "The main challenges facing Malaysian consumers are the rising cost of living and reduced purchasing power due to the increasing prices of goods and services as well as the higher borrowing costs."