Atria mall at Worli opened doors almost 11 years back amidst much hype in 2006 but failed to bring in sufficient returns. The mall owners are once again evaluating revival options, after failed attempts to sell to Shoppers Stop a year back.
Inox theatre has taken around 10,000 sq ft of space on the fourth floor of the mall and is expected to be operational in the next six months, while a new pub called Mahtaari and a restaurant called Spar kitchen have also opened on the same floor in the last couple of weeks. While only 35 stores operational in the mall are pinning hopes of a revival, consultants say the situation may slightly improve but a full-fledged recovery is unlikely.
The existing store owners present in the mall feel opening up of Inox after a very long time is a sliver lining and can attract footfalls into the mall. At present only 20% of the mall is occupied by 35 operational stores. The total size of the mall is around 2.5 lakh sq ft mall. Austria-based jewellery brand Swarovski is the only well-known brand present in the mall at present.
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The mall has three main owners — Champalal Vardhan, Dalichand Shah and Bhupesh Jain. Additionally, a number of stores were sold to individual brands.
Ashok Mutta, owner of Simple’s Boutique, an exclusive high-end silver jewellery store, told FE, “We are on rent and have come into the mall three years back as rents are low here compared to other locations in the vicinity and also other malls. After we came here rents have dropped more than 60%, however, we are still unable to make profit as footfalls are very less and we are planning to move out. We have taken 400 sq ft store combining two stores and are paying rent of around R80,000 per month. Rent is different for each shop depending on the size and individual negotiations. We are hopeful with Inox opening in the mall in the next six months the situation would improve and if it doesn’t we are planning to move out.”
However, consultants feel while there may be slight improvement in footfalls with Inox opening up it won’t really translate into a revival or attracting more brands to enter the mall. Pankaj Kapoor, chief executive officer, Liases Foras, said, “Average rents in the locality should be around R300 per sq ft. The mall was on the verge of closure with majority of the brands moving out and the mall owners unable to sell it. While Atria mall is located at one of the prime location of Mumbai, main problem with the mall is its size which is too small to do justice to brands. Further the mall owner has sold individual space to store owners which has made it difficult for the owners to sell space to big brands or an upright sell of the mall. Opening of Inox and pub will bring in some activity but not a full-fledged revival.”
With Shoppers Stop pulling out of talks with the owners of Atria Mall last year, after two years of active negotiation, the fate of the country’s first luxury mall hangs in uncertainty.
Vinita Bist, assistant store director, Lladro Boutique, which sells high-end handmade porcelain show pieces from Spain, said, “Shoppers Stop was trying to buy two floors but it didn’t work out as there are several stores sold to individual owners and the price they asked was very high to match. We are here since inception and we own the store. We are no longer getting any new customers and get orders only from our existing customers. For the next one year we will be here but plan to move out after that. However, the final call will be taken by the company.”
Atria is one of the several malls in Mumbai which failed to click. It failed to bring sufficient returns sine its operation despite attracting top brands like Mango, Rolls Royce, Swatch, Tissot, Swarovski among other high-end brands. Over a period of time the situation has deteriorated from bad to worse with only 20% of occupancy at present.