In the wake of the COVID-19 and the volatile US-China trade tensions, retail businesses are looking to relocate operations to the ASEAN region, according to a global advisory and consultancy firm.

Marivic Espano, chairperson and CEO P&A Grant Thornton, said this is the reason the company has launched its ASEAN Focus Retail Industry Services and its new publication ‘Retail: Navigating the Impact of COVID-19’.

“The objective of the new ASEAN Focus Retail Industry Services is to meet rising demand from retail businesses looking to relocate operations to the region in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and fluctuating US-China trade tensions,” said Espano.

 The service will focus on medium to large enterprises looking to expand, relocate or diversify their businesses in the region.

While the ASEAN region is often the prime choice for businesses and investors, any relocation or expansion in a new country or region can be challenging. Many factors need to be considered, including risk management, cost management, investment returns, cultural differences and more.

Espano said the growing demand for help in these areas is the driving force behind the Grant Thornton member firms from the Big 7 ASEAN countries – Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia– coming together as Grant Thornton ASEAN.

“We offer seamless cross-border services to all the medium to large enterprises looking for opportunities to expand their retail businesses across the ASEAN region” said Espano.

With a team of local experts from different countries, Grant Thornton ASEAN can provide medium to large enterprises valuable business insights and strategic perspectives, evaluate business challenges and support their needs in local or regional growth, risk management or cost management.

Espano noted that the retail industry was severely impacted during the global outbreak of COVID-19 and is currently facing significant market, financial, people and operational challenges.

The pandemic has affected parts of the industry in different ways. Although the grocery sector is carries essential products that continued to be sold unhampered during the pandemic, the retail industry struggled with supply chain issues. Consumer goods and apparel businesses have been challenged by store closures and rapid growth of online sales.

On its new publication named ‘Retail: Navigating the Impact of COVID-19,’ Grant Thornton aims at further helping companies in the retail industry during the pandemic.

“As non-essential trading was halted in many parts of the world, many businesses have experienced a significant drop in revenue with store closures. As a result of this, many retail staff were made redundant or worked reduced hours during the pandemic,” said Espano.

Espano advised retail businesses to focus on liquidity, cost management, debt and restructuring to assess, protect and restore value for their business. The ‘Retail: Navigating the Impact of COVID-19’ will provide some guidance on the steps required to position themselves for the ‘new normal’ that is emerging after the lockdown restrictions are eased.

Retailers need to ensure their businesses are resilient going forward. Lenders and stakeholders need to know there is a working strategy for transitioning from the present disruption to operating in the new normal. 

Grant Thornton is a leading professional services firm with a proven track record of high-quality work. It provides value-added services to clients through a client-caring team of audit, tax, and business professionals who utilize leading-edge systems and technology and are guided by the highest standards of quality, integrity, and competence.

Marivic Espano, chairperson and CEO P&A Grant Thornton.


As published in Manila Bulletin, dated 01 September 2020