Robinsons shuts its doors in Malaysia and Singapore as it falls victim to Covid-19

KUALA LUMPUR : Robinsons, the retailer that has been in business for more than 160 years, is shutting all remaining stores in Malaysia and Singapore for good as it falls victim to the Covid-19 pandemic which has sharply reduced consumer demand.

Robinson Co (Malaya) Sdn Bhd will be closing both its Malaysian outlets located in Kuala Lumpur. The outlets at The Gardens Mall has been operating for more than 13 years while the one at The Shoppes at Four Seasons Place opened only two years ago. 

Robinsons’ history in Malaysia dates back to 1928 when it set up a department store at the present-day site of the OCBC Bank head office by the Masjid Jamek LRT station on Jalan Tun Perak.

Meanwhile in Singapore, Robinson & Co (Singapore) will be closing its remaining outlets at The Heeren and Raffles City shopping centre, Singapore media reported, citing a statement from the retailer. 

These stores will remain open in the next few weeks to facilitate final sales for customers before closing for good, online portal Today reported.  

The 162-year-old retailer had earlier closed its department store outlet at the city state’s Jem mall. 

Robinsons senior general manager Danny Lim said the changing consumer landscape makes it difficult for the company to succeed over the long-term and the pandemic has further exacerbated the challenges, Bernama reported. 

The group acknowledged that the department store concept is no longer popular with demand falling significantly. Reports showed that retail sales recorded a negative growth rate of 8.5% in Malaysia for the first quarter of 2020 compared with the same period last year. 

Citing a study on retail trend, Robinsons said large name players globally have exited the industry and over half of mall-based department stores will close in the next five years. 

“Similarly, in Malaysia, the retail industry recorded the worst growth rate in 33 years with the outlook remaining negative for the remaining months of the year as consumers are expected to tighten their spending,” the department store operator said. 

Datuk Robert Teo Keng Tuan of RSM Malaysia has been appointed as interim liquidator and the provisional liquidator will now take control of the company’s assets and assess options to realise value in order to maximise returns to creditors. 

Subject to confirmation, the liquidators are hoping the stores will remain open for the coming weeks to facilitate final sales for customers before they are shuttered. 

Concurrently, Robinsons stores in Singapore will undergo a similar liquidation process with the appointment of Cameron Duncan and David Kim from KordaMentha as provisional liquidators.

By : Syahirah Syed Jaafar – THE EDGE MARKETS

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