KUALA LUMPUR, July 16 – The news has been out for sometime now about job losses, salary cuts and plunging sales and retail outlets closing, and how Misery has visited all sections of businesses, big and small – with the few exceptions that have seen a boon during the pandemic.
The Malaysia Retail Chain Association, today reiterated specific figures attesting to the desperate situation of its members, and called for targeted lockdowns rather than a blanket lockdown that affects all businesses including those that should be able to carry out their businesses with the required standard operating procedures(SOPs) in order.
Citing the findings of a survey done on retailers last month, MRCA President Shirley Tay said for the first six months this year compared with the same period last year, 91 percent of the retailers reported a drop in sales, while 72 percent had to reduce their staff number. About 40 percent of them had to at least terminate 10 employees resulting in termination of at least 50,000 workers.
The retailers also had to carry out wage cuts while 51 percent of them downsized their retail outlets, and 21 percent of them closed six or more of their outlets, branches, she said. Businesses from those selling apparels to winter clothings, and food and beverage (due to high commission) have all been badly affected. Some of them have cash flow to last 3 to 3.5 months, she said.
“There is a joke out there that the tourism and entertainment sector have gone into coma. The retail sector may not be in coma but it is in critical condition,” she said, hoping that the vaccination efforts will be speeded up.
There must also be target restrictions rather than blanket closures, for instance, about 30 percent of outlets in shopping malls have closed down, but their contribution to the Covid-19 cases is reportedly low, she said.
Areas that have high number of cases should definitely remain in tighter control, she said.
Shirley was speaking at a press conference here today to announce that MRCA and the Direct Selling Association of Malaysia (DSAM) have joined forces to support the White Flag movement to help families affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
On the other hand, DSAM President Datuk Tan Chong Guan said the direct selling business had somewhat seen an improvement in performance especially in the sales of household products and health supplements related to building up immunity.
Some of them who have been staying home under the lockdown or have lost their jobs have also joined in the business of direct selling and this has also contributed to the business which has grown 20 percent with revenue amounting to 21.5 billion ringgit.