Unlock effect: Mall footfalls rising but business still dull

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Published: June 16, 2020 2:45 AM

Rajneesh Mahajan, CEO at Inorbit Mall, hopes business will turn a little more brisk once youngsters start socialising at restaurants and movie halls because the quantum of transactions right now, when measured against pre-Covid-9 times, remains small.

Muhammad Ali, COO, retail division at Prestige Group, believes the decision to waive rentals for its retail partners during the lockdown period has resulted in 80% of the shops re-opening. Muhammad Ali, COO, retail division at Prestige Group, believes the decision to waive rentals for its retail partners during the lockdown period has resulted in 80% of the shops re-opening.

There’s no bingeing yet but buyers are back in the malls, browsing. A week after they were thrown open, business is still very dull probably because the multiplexes remain shut as do most restaurants. But while the footfalls are low the conversion rates are higher as are items and billings per customer. Rajneesh Mahajan, CEO at Inorbit Mall, hopes business will turn a little more brisk once youngsters start socialising at restaurants and movie halls because the quantum of transactions right now, when measured against pre-Covid-9 times, remains small.

Muhammad Ali, COO, retail division at Prestige Group, believes the decision to waive rentals for its retail partners during the lockdown period has resulted in 80% of the shops re-opening. Prestige is currently running eight of its nine malls and these have seen close to 20,000 customers a day. “If we were to compare this to last year, it’s 24% of the footfalls but close to 40% of the turnover,” Ali told FE pointing out that in normal times, only 10% of customers would end up buying.

Vaibhav More, centre director at Vega City Mall, Bengaluru, said business in the first week was at 40% of the pre-Covid levels. About 70% of the retailers are back in business though most customers were visiting hypermarkets and departmental stores.

Muckth Dograa, AVP & Centre head at DLF Avenue, Saket, about half the stores had re-opened and that consumption is seeing a “measured uptick”. “At DLF Promenade, customers are spending less time and are doing some targetted shopping,” said Siddhartha Natu, AVP & centre head.

Nimish Arora, director & interim CEO at Select Citywalk mall, said three-fourths of the stores are open while the footfalls have gone up to about 7,500 a day.

Metro Brands estimates that it will take at least a year before sales are back to the pre-Covid levels. Although nearly three-fourths of the firm’s stores have opened, footfalls and sales are at roughly half of last year’s levels, said Alisha Malik, VP, e-commerce and marketing.

Nitin Mohan, founder and director at Blackberrys, said the shortage of manpower was an issue, adding footfalls were at 40% of the regular levels. “The average ticket size has gone up and conversion rates have improved but customer traffic is slow,” Mohan said.

Umashan Naidoo, head (cosmetics and customers),Westside, said customers are shopping for specific categories such as lounge and night wear and eye-make up products. Currently 119 Westside stores are operational. Jayant Khosla, Group MD & CEO at VLCC Group, said while sales are understandably lower than pre-Covid levels, one can see a steady uptick. Premium jewellery brand Her Story is hopeful that sales will improve going ahead. “As people will have fewer avenues to spend money, they would be attracted to meaningful value purchases,” the firm said.

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