Steep plunge in revenue attributed to wider product selection and cheap prices offered by online sellers.

KUALA LUMPUR: Contrary to expectations, the shopping paradise that is Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman (TAR) was a letdown for traders this Ramadan.

For years, Jalan TAR has been the go-to place during festive seasons, thanks to its offers and discounts. However, a check by theSun found most businesses there complained of poor sales.

A kain songket trader who asked to be known ony as Tina, 46, said sales had plummeted by over 60% compared with previous years.

“This year’s sales were very disappointing, with less than half my stock sold. I’ve hardly made enough sales to turn a decent profit as most visitors were just browsing.”

Tina said to onlookers, Jalan TAR may seem very crowded with shoppers, but most of them are there to enjoy the festive ambience and not to buy anything.

Baju Melayu and kurta trader Mohammad Imran Yahya, 31, said he was forced to offer three articles of clothing for RM100, down from the usual price of RM150 per item.

“Despite slashing prices, buyers are still not keen to make purchases.

“With hardly any overheads, online sellers are biting into our business and it’s getting tougher for us to survive,” he said.

Private sector employee Nur Nafisah Hamdan, 25, said she purchased her and her husband’s Hari Raya clothes from online platforms as prices were cheaper and the quality was good too.

“Online shopping saves us considerable time, is far cheaper and offers doorstep delivery. None of our Hari Raya outfits cost more than RM100.

“Shopping in physical stores takes time, and we have to contend with traffic jams, find parking and it is also very tiring,” she said.

A Malaysia Retailers Association spokesperson said the trend of shopping online has been growing over the years due to its convenience and lower prices.

“Factors propelling the shift to online shopping include wider product selection. Online retailers typically offer a vast range of products compared with conventional stores, allowing customers to find precisely what they are looking for without being limited by physical inventories.”

She said the vastly lower overhead costs of online platforms also translate to highly competitive prices, prompting retailers to offer discounts and promotions to attract customers.

The spokesperson added that as technology advances, online retailers were also improving their platforms while maintaining their physical stores so as not to lose out on walk-in customers.

“This approach allows retailers to cater to a diverse range of customers, providing them with the flexibility to shop online or in-store according to their convenience.

“This way, retailers can reach a broader audience and remain competitive in an evolving customer landscape that is shaped by digital innovations.”

She also said the public may opt for window shopping at Hari Raya bazaars to enjoy the experience without feeling obligated to make purchases.

“However, many people cherish the conventional experience of purchasing from physical stores during festive seasons.”

She said for any festive occasion, physically shopping for new clothes, decorations and gifts with family and friends remains an important cultural practice for many Malaysians.