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KUALA LUMPUR: Retailers need to enhance the quality of their service to continue attracting customers following competition from online businesses, said YTL Corporation Bhd managing director Tan Sri Dr Francis Yeoh.

Speaking to retailers at the Malaysian Retailer-Chains Association CEO Night on Friday, Yeoh said:

“If people are going to drive to your outlets in the jam, you better have something extraordinary, to give people a proposition. Whether it’s your shop, services or architecture… you must attract people,” he told retailers in
his address titled YTL and the Globalising of Malaysia’s Retail Industry.

“That’s why brand management or the discipline for service quality and consistency is important. The retail business is based on an inverted pyramid model where the owner’s passion has been translated down to the last man.

We’re depending on our staff as we can’t be there.”The YTL Group owns the Starhill Gallery, Lot 10, JW Marriott and RitzCarlton on the city’s famed Bintang Walk. It also has shopping malls in Singapore’s Orchard Road, besides Chengdu, Perth and Tokyo.

With shopping malls that house top international brands, Yeoh said he does not feel sorry for bringing in the foreign
brands even though they pose competition to local brands.

“Malaysians are competitive. The per capita income is low to fight for the retailing pocket. But because of this furnace of hardship, Malaysian retailers are the fastest to grow.” He also urged retailers to adopt online practices and to make their websites live and relevant, as 80% of people make decisions based on Internet studies.

“The online platform is something that retailers need to harness and embrace. If retailers don’t offer an Internet storing of articulation and has yet to give a real experience in their shops, they’re going to lose out.

“Retailing is the most competitive business. It’s the passion of the retailers… when you believe in your products. It’s the toughest job but you can be successful. You can go global.”