Malaysians retailers optimistic of Q2 sales boost
Despite recording a negative growth rate in the first quarter (Q1) 2017 in retail sales, Retail Group Malaysia (RGA) has maintained its projected retail sales growth rate at 3.9 per cent for the full year. RGA said it expects the poor retail sale results during the first quarter to be offset by the higher projection of the second quarter. “Members of the retailers’ association are hopeful that their businesses will pick up by the second quarter of 2017. “They projected an average growth rate of 4.8 per cent,” it said. During the first quarter, Malaysia’s retail sales shrunk 1.2 per cent compared to the same period in 2016.

Malaysia’s retail sales growth dips
The Malaysian retail industry recorded another disappointing growth rate of -1.2% in retail sales for the first quarter of 2017 (1Q17), compared with the same period in 2016 (-4.4%), due to weak Chinese New Year sales in January 2017. An industry report compiled by Retail Group Malaysia noted that the latest quarterly result was below market expectation. It was lower than the estimate made by the Malaysia Retailers Association (at 0.9%), as well as projection made by Retail Group Malaysia (at 1.5%) in March 2017. The report said prices of retail goods continued to rise since the beginning of this year, due mainly to the weak ringgit. However, RGM noted that members of the retailers’ association are hopeful that their businesses will pick up by the 2Q17, projecting an average growth rate of 4.8%.

Ikea to try selling through third party websites
Ikea plans to test selling its products on websites other than its own, the head of brand and strategy owner Inter Ikea Group said, as the world’s biggest home furnishing retailer targets more online customers.  The move means Ikea’s customers may soon be able to buy its flat-pack furniture and other home furnishings through the likes of Amazon, which has said it plans to venture into furniture, or Chinese rival Alibaba.  Inter Ikea Group chief executive Torbjorn Loof said the plan is to start testing in 2018.

Greater demand for electric cars
The International Energy Agency said the number of electric cars on the roads around the world rose to 2 million in 2016, following a year of strong growth in 2015. The IEA’s Global EV Outlook said China remained the largest market in 2016, accounting for more than 40% of electric cars sold worldwide. It added that China is by far the global leader in the electrification of transport, having more than 200 million electric two-wheelers and more than 300,000 electric buses.