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To The Next Level

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An afterthought on the Malaysian retail scene with Joyce Yap, CEO-Retail of Pavilion Kuala Lumpur .

The Malaysian retail industry has evolved greatly since its establishment in the 1980s when street shopping was prevalent to today’s shopping mall format. Shopping center management has become increasingly professional and personnel are more accredited in their fields, especially with Centre Management Courses available through Persatuan Pengurusan Komplex Malaysia , store fit-out is of international appeal and standards, and the retail mix reflects the demands of the consumer catchment.

In your years of practice, how far have we come?

The Malaysian retail industry has evolved greatly since its establishment in the 1980s when street shopping was prevalent to today’s shopping mall format. Shopping center management has become increasingly professional and personnel are more accredited in their fields, especially with Centre Management Courses available through Persatuan Pengurusan Komplex Malaysia , store fit-out is of international appeal and standards, and the retail mix reflects the demands of the consumer catchment.

The retail landscape has become increasingly creative; developments are expanding to become mix-used projects evolving into townships. There is not only a retail platform but also entertainment, education, leisure, commercial, residential facets like Bandar Sunway in the suburban area and also Pavilion Kuala Lumpur in the CBD.

What have been some of the sweetest successes of Malaysian retail thus far and why?

A great reflection of the growing success of the industry is the increase in tourist numbers and their spending; the retail sector is the second highest contributing industry to Malaysia ‘s tourism expenditure.

Malaysia ‘s well-known shopping centers like Sungei Wang, Mid Valley City, KLCC, Starhill and Pavilion Kuala Lumpur have been recognized on the international landscape having received illustrious industry awards over the years. This has helped concretize Malaysia on the map as a preferred shopping destination. Such pivotal results are due to the dedication of industry players; their foresight and vision for the growth and potential of the Malaysian retail scene has cultivated the image of Malaysia as a shopping hot spot.

If there is one thing you can change or implement to make Malaysian retail even better, what would it be and what does it take to do it?

It would be constructive to have more access to updated information on consumer data, especially sales turnover of various retail categories for retailers and developers to better understand their catchment and buying behavior. Customer service needs to also be upgraded through improved staff training and product knowledge. And it is critical that infrastructure shortcomings be addressed; road transport needs to be further enhanced so it is easier, safer and cost-effective for people to commute.

Where do you see us going from here?

There is still more room to grow for the Malaysian retail industry. The Malaysian Government has established National Key Economic Areas Labs as a think-tank on how to drive the nation’s economy and the retail sector is one of the contributing areas that they have recognized. By 2020, the target is to attract 36 million tourists and generate RM168 million in tourist expenditure. This has been shared with key industry leaders and it is promising that we are all working towards this common goal.

Your personal wishes for the Malaysian retail market, especially from the real estate perspective.

I hope that the Malaysia can offer an iconic retail belt on par with Singapore ‘s Orchard Road , Tokyo ‘s Ginza and New York ‘s Fifth Avenue . It would be advantageous also to have sales turnover figures be competitive with regional leaders like Hong Kong and Singapore . And lastly, I hope that the Malaysian retail sector will continue to be run by experienced professionals that can take the industry to the next level.