More and More Malls in Penang

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The number of shopping malls, supermarkets and departmental stores in Malaysia has been growing greatly over the last decade. Yet the 2011 AT Kearney’s Global Retail Development Index ranked the Malaysian retail sector in 21st position among 30 emerging economies, a steady drop from 17th in 2010, 10th in 2009, and 8th in 2008. What can this mean?

Penang’s retail landscape

In recent years, shopping malls, hypermarkets and departmental stores have been rapidly growing on both the island and the mainland to meet the increasing demand and spending power of local shoppers.

The service sector is one of the key contributors to Penang’s gross domestic product (GDP), and the sector is estimated to register a strong 7.6% growth in 20111. As of the third quarter of 2011, the wholesale and retail trade as well as repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles sector comprise 14.7% of total employment in Penang2; and shopping complexes in Penang make up more than 1.4 million square metres of total space, with an average occupancy rate of 69.3% (see Table 1).


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