Retailers seek rental rebates to ride out Covid-19 effects

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on February 18, 2020.
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KUALA LUMPUR: Retail associations locally are appealing for mall and shophouse landlords and owners to give rental rebates of between 30% and 50% for the next six months for retailers to ride out the Covid-19 outbreak's effects.

The call was jointly made by the Malaysia Retailers Association, Malaysia Retail Chain Association, Bumiputera Retailers Organisation, Asean Retail-Chains and Franchise Federation and Branding Association of Malaysia.

The associations said the rebates are similar to what malls and landlords have done for their tenants in Hong Kong and Singapore.

"Malaysia’s retail businesses have been greatly affected since the Covid-19 outbreak. Many tourists have cancelled travel plans, locals became very cautious and shoppers are staying home, shying away from crowded places such as malls," the associations said in a statement yesterday.

The associations said many members reported sales dropping as much as 50%, with some expecting revenue to decline more than 80% over the next three months.

"In times like this, besides reducing rentals, retailers are also appealing to landlords for holistic support such as the flexibility to operate shorter store hours to reduce unproductive operational hours, free parking for shoppers, complimentary bookings of atrium areas, and marketing support for retailer-driven promotions and mall-wide marketing initiatives," they said.

The associations are hoping businesses would bounce back within six to eight months. — Bernama