CapitaLand, a real estate company that operates more than 3,500 stores in Singapore, has unveiled a S$10m marketing assistance programme to support its retail partners cope with the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

Although China, the epicentre of the spreading disease, is suffering more than anywhere, the BBC has reported that Singapore is particularly vulnerable because it is one of the busiest transport hubs in the world with a flight taking off and arriving every 80 seconds.

With 67 confirmed cases as of Friday, retailers have struggled as consumers avoid crowded places like shopping malls and it is expected retail sales will be weak this year, compounding a 2.8% fall in 2019 – itself the steepest decline in six years.

CapitaLand is now stepping in, announcing in a press release that its S$10m initiative will support both retailer-driven promotions as well as mall-wide marketing initiatives, such as complimentary booking of atrium spaces for retailers and free parking for shoppers during lunch or dinner hours.

A series of marketing initiatives to boost consumer spending has also been lined up, CapitaLand said, including cashback promotions as well as giveaways of Star$ points and online vouchers for shoppers who are members of its CapitaStar rewards programme.

The company also confirmed that it has been implementing precautionary measures, such as increasing the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting its estate in line with the orange-level warning issued by Singapore’s Ministry of Health.

In addition, visitors will be required to take their temperature and provide health and travel declarations before entering CapitaLand properties.

And as a further measure, the company is introducing flexible trading hours so that, from February 14 until further notice, stores may operate from no later than 11am and close no earlier than 8pm. However, there will be no change to the malls' standard operating hours of 10am to 10pm.

“As the operator of Singapore’s largest shopping mall network, it is incumbent on CapitaLand to take the lead in showing support for our retailers,” said Chris Chong, managing director of retail at CapitaLand Singapore.

“CapitaLand and our retail partners have overcome past economic downturns brought on by severe acute respiratory syndrome [Sars] and the global financial crisis. By continuing to work hand in hand, I am confident our retail ecosystem will ride through the current challenge.”

Sourced from CapitaLand, BBC; additional content by WARC staff