H1N1 hits trade in Pune; sales dip 20% as malls, multiplexes shut

Written by Mona Mehta | Mumbai | Updated: Aug 12 2009, 04:04am hrs
Branded retail stores, hypermarkets, malls with multiplexes in Pune have started feeling the pinch with dented sales to the tune of 15% to 20% due to the ongoing swine flu epidemic in Pune, followed with Maharashtra. According to industry players, the dip in footfalls at retail stores in Pune can go up to 100% in the next seven days.

Manish Parekh, managing director, @Home Retail told FE, Currently, we have two stores in Pune and with the spread of swine flue epidemic, we have witnessed 15% dip in sales. If the epidemic spreads at a similar pace in Mumbai, we would witness additional dip in the near future.

Big Bazaar, part of the Future Group, which currently has 6 hypermarkets in Pune is currently watching the grace situation in Pune where shoppers have stopped visiting hypermarkets in order to avoid being in crowd.

According to Rajan Malhotra, chief executive officer, Big Bazaar said, In Big Baazar in Pune, the footfalls has dropped significantly as people are becoming extra cautious to even venture out of the house. Hence, sales dip effect are being felt and will be even more drastic by the end of this quarter as drop in footfalls can even go up to 100%.

Fun Cinemas, a five screen multiplex apart from other multiplexes in Pune have also started witnessing significant dip in enquiries and footfalls, according to a company source.

Fast food retail giant, McDonalds India has started taking certain steps as precautionary measures such as providing helpline numbers to customers, crew members wearing respiratory masks within McDonalds restaurants to ensure their and customers safety as well. The company is currently evaluating the rate at which footfalls have dipped within McDonalds restaurants and its impact on sales.

Retailers Association of India (RAI) is awaiting directives to handle the impact of swine flu epidemic there as they feel that in crucial times of swine flue epidemic, considering peoples welfare is of prime importance rather than luring them to shop in branded stores in Pune.

Kumar Rajagopalan, chief executive officer said, The talks are currently on between organised retailers based in Pune and RAI on how to handle the impact of swine flu epidemic and whether to have HINI centres within retail malls to ensure shoppers health is not neglected by providing them medical emergency while they are shopping.