KUALA LUMPUR, March 14 (Xinhua) -- Malaysia recorded a strong growth rate of 13.7 percent in retail sales, as compared to the same period in 2021, according to Retail Group Malaysia (RGM) Tuesday.
In its report, the RGM said despite the high base rate of 26.5 percent a year ago, this latest quarterly result, higher than its 6-percent estimate, met the market expectation.
Members of the Malaysia Retailers Association and Malaysia Retail Chain Association had projected the fourth quarter growth rate at 13.9 percent in November 2022.
According to the RGM, for the last three months of 2022, Malaysia retail industry continued on its recovery path supported by two major festivals - Christmas and the Chinese New Year.
Meanwhile, after two consecutive years of dismay due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Malaysian retail industry recorded a positive growth rate of 33.3 percent for the entire year of 2022.
Members of the two retailers' associations projected an average growth rate of 9.2 percent for the Malaysian retail industry during the first quarter of 2023.
The RGM also revised its annual growth rate in retail sales for 2023 to 4 percent, an upward adjustment of 0.5 percentage points from the projection made in November last year.
"Although Malaysia's retail industry had successfully rode through the COVID-19 pandemic, new market challenges emerged in this new year," the RGM said.
According to the RGM, since the beginning of last year, retailers have been facing depleting profit margins due to rising staff costs, increased rental rates as well as rising costs of goods.
Another major challenge for Malaysia's retail industry in this new year is the rising cost of living of consumers, said the RGM.