SHANGHAI — CapitaLand Retail, the Singaporean mall developer with a portfolio across mainland China, said all its venues in the country that had been shut down during the coronavirus lockdown have now reopened.
That includes the group’s four malls in Wuhan, the epicenter of the virus outbreak, which reopened on April 2 after receiving clearance from local authorities. The properties had been shut since the end of January.
“We are very encouraged by the return of tenants and shoppers to our malls after the progressive lifting of restrictions in the nine cities where we operate,” said Tan Tze Wooi, chief executive officer of CapitaLand Retail China Trust Management.
At least 80 percent of tenants in CapitaLand commercial and business park properties in China have resumed operations, the company said.
While Tan struck an upbeat note, adding that the group’s focus now “is to collaborate closely with our retailers to meet the pent-up demand of our shoppers,” a sector V-shaped rebound is looking unsure.
China’s retail figures fell by 20.5 percent year-over-year for January and February. About 60 percent of large malls see sales dropping around 30 percent for the first quarter, said a survey from the China Chain Store and Franchise Association.
With much of the population experiencing layoffs or salary cuts, China’s consumers are expected to tighten their purse strings. That pullback on spending is predicted to persist as China’s export-based economy weakens — many of the nation’s trading partners are struggling to contain COVID-19. In addition, the more than monthlong stay-at-home government orders and lingering fears over a resurgence of cases appear to have accelerated the inclination for online shopping, disadvantaging off-line-dominated players like malls.