Malls gear up for Diwali fireworks

Written by Mona Mehta | Mumbai | Updated: Oct 15 2009, 05:56am hrs
With Diwali round the corner, competition has increased among branded mall owners in the metros. They have hiked their marketing budgets 15-20% and have announced big offers based on events, fun activities and incentive schemes. With the economy starting to look up, this move will help improve footfalls and spur sales conversion, say observers.

To put things in perspective, the organised retail industry, pegged at around Rs 1-lakh-crore, is showing early signs of revival, after a tumultous six months in the latter part of 2008-09. Estimates by the Retailers Association of India, the apex body of organised, modern retailers, show the segment has grown 20% in the September quarter of this financial year, thanks to the increase in consumer spending.

Shibu Philips, business head, Oberoi Mall in suburban Mumbai, said, We have launched a shopping festival that captures the essence of the season. To this end, we have hiked our marketing budget by 15-20% over last Diwali which reeled under the severe economic slowdown. We have introduced an offer where customers stand to win five diamond jewellery sets worth Rs 1 lakh each. In addition, mall customers shopping for Rs 2,009 will get assured prizes.

The mall decor will also reflect the spirit of the festive season. On entering, customers at Oberoi Mall will be transported to a jeweled wonderland, complete with lamp displays and Diwali merchandise. The food court at the mall will stir up a special menu for customers with special offers on select items. The mall will have an authentic flea market, Flea Fest, which will offer a range of items for customers--from jewellery to soaps to eatables.

Rajesh Sheth, vice-president, marketing of Future Groups Central Mall, said, Central seamless mall is offering assured gifts to all its customers and the chance to win prizes worth over Rs 20 crore across all Central outlets in India. We have hiked our marketing spends this festive season by over 10%.

Croma, the large-format, multi-brand consumer durables and electronics chain from the Tata Group, has launched bonus offers in the form of deals, savings, finance options, freebies and lucky draws for customers. Ajit Joshi, managing director, Croma, said, We have hiked our marketing and advertising spends by over 15% this festival, over the previous festival. We hope to achieve 30-35% growth in sales during this period.

Nirmal Lifestyle Mall is planning events and promotions built around Diwali. Dharmesh Jain, managing director, Nirmal Lifestyle, said, We hope to witness 50% more footfalls this year and better sales conversion compared to last Diwali. To attract more footfalls, we have invested over 10-12% the sales revenues on mall dcor and marketing programmes.