Monday, January 01, 2007

Retailers Expect to Ring in Good Sales

RETAILERS nationwide are excited about the prospects of Visit Malaysia Year (VMY) 2007, anticipating higher sales as a result of the campaign.

MJ Department Stores Sdn Bhd, which operates Metrojaya department stores in the country, was poised to benefit because tourists who visited the country generally liked to visit shopping centres, said assistant general manager for advertising and promotions Alice Tan.

“Be it in Kuala Lumpur, Penang or Johor Baru, we are well represented,” she told StarBiz.
Tan said the company had several plans to attract tourists to its stores. “We are looking into making available special offers for tourists. We will also train our staff to speak in various languages to accommodate tourists from different countries,” she said.

Its stores will have signages in various languages. “Basically, we want to create a good and comfortable shopping experience for them.”

She said the company was expecting tourists mainly from China and the Middle East. “Of course, VMY2007 can also be enjoyed by the locals,” she added.

Meanwhile, Starhill Gallery is working alongside the Tourism Ministry to develop exciting events and activities.

“This is to continuously attract tourists from around the region, such as from Singapore, Indonesia and the Middle East – specifically those who appreciate quality and finer things in life,” said YTL Group customer service executive director Eric Eoon.

He said that to ensure Starhill Gallery's offerings reached this niche audience, it had developed an integrated concierge programme to ensure tourists had the information they needed on where to shop and where to dine.

“Starhill Gallery's concierge group will work with concierges of other top hotels to ensure that everyone is equipped with up-to-date information on Starhill Gallery's various offerings,” he said.

Eoon said the same information would be shown on screens in tourist-frequented places, such as the KLIA Express, Bintang Walk, and Lot 10.

He also said one of the ways YTL enhanced the experience of high-end tourists was through the Platinum Plus recognition and rewards programme. Members enjoy exclusive privileges and world-class services in shopping (Starhill Gallery and Lot 10), fine dining, and luxurious hotel and resort accommodation, among others.

“The idea is to really add value to their experience by providing a fantastic host of integrated services from a wide range of YTL establishments,” he said.

Central Market Sdn Bhd managing director Bernard Bong is also enthusiastic about this year's prospects. “We have lined up many interesting events such as flower fests and cultural activities for tourists. Shopping-wise, we have asked our tenants to have special promotions for them,” he said in an interview.

Bong said Central Market had allocated between RM50,000 and RM100,000 per event.
He also said the arts, culture and handicraft centre was targeting to increase its tourists to local visitors ratio from the current 40:60 to at least 50:50 this year.

Suria KLCC, said general manager Andrew Brien, was looking forward to VMY2007 as it would increase retail spending. “Suria KLCC has always been a destination for the tourists, and with so many great brands available here, we are well positioned to give tourists the best value. We have always allocated quite a substantial amount of budget for tourism initiatives on a whole.

For VMY2007, we will try and maximise our budget by creating value for our customers,” he said.

Brien believes that the retail scene would be quite challenging this year. “With the retail scene getting more vibrant with new players, we have to work harder to ensure that we grow our market share,” he said.

“So far we are happy to say that we have been able to deliver to the consumers what they want. This is demonstrated by our strong double digit sales growth which is well ahead of the general economy's growth,” Brien added.

Meanwhile, smaller retailers have also been caught in the VMY2007 excitement.
Kamdar Group (M) Bhd chief executive officer Jayesh Kamdar said: “We are in the midst of finalising some events and roadshows that we hope will attract tourists to visit our outlets.” The textile retailer has allocated some RM3mil to organise these events. Jayesh said Kamdar targeted mainly the Middle Eastern tourists “as they are closest to us in terms of our target market.” New product ranges

For pewter specialist Royal Selangor, this year should be extra special, given that tourists already form an integral part of the company’s customer base.

“The tourist segment has always been a very important part of our business,” said Royal Selangor Marketing general manager Chen Tien Yue. He said Royal Selangor believed that with the additional marketing efforts for VMY2007 by all parties such as retailers and the Government, there should be an increase in tourist arrivals this year and that all retailers would benefit.

Malaysia Shopping Bargains - SNS
Source : STAR
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