GRANT THORNTON said it has launched a service to help retail businesses relocate or expand to Southeast Asia in the wake of the pandemic and continued trade tensions between the United States and China.

The professional services company is offering advisory services to medium and large enterprises looking to invest in ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries.

In a statement Thursday, Grant Thornton said its experts in various countries can offer business insights on risk and cost management, investment returns, and cultural differences.

“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,” P&A Grant Thornton Chief Executive Officer and Chairperson Marivic Espano said.

The company offers auditing, tax, and advisory services with member firms in Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia.

Ms. Espano said that companies must focus on liquidity, cost management, and debt and restructuring to restore value for their businesses as lockdown restrictions are eased.

The company recently produced “Retail: Navigating the Impact of COVID-19, in which it concluded that the pandemic could have effects beyond a shift to online retail.

“If a significant number of businesses decide to retain homeworking as an operating model, the number of commuters could reduce as well,” the report said.

The company recommended that retailers grow their online presence and nurture a loyal customer base.

The Philippine Retailers Association said that it is seeing some improvement in demand as Metro Manila restrictions are eased, but still expects consumption to be below pre-pandemic levels due to a lack of public transport and customer reluctance to go shopping. — Jenina P. Ibañez