The Croma and Reliance Digital stores had people lining up waiting for their turn to buy. Laptops, LED TVs, microwave, refrigerators and electric kettle were moving off the shelves.
Retailers are expecting nearly 70% demand recovery in the coming festive season compared to pre-Covid levels. The Independence Day weekend footfall and sales across malls in Pune, despite heavy rainfall, have given them the confidence that buyers would come back soon. Electronics, apparel, cosmetics and footwear verticals reported considerable consumer demand. White goods, too, saw a pick-up, with a lot of deliveries after the weekend. The festive season from Dussehra to Diwali is expected to see a resumption in sales closer to the pre-Covid levels.
The 16-day Pitru Paksh after Ganesh Chaturti from September 1 onwards is expected to be dull as it is considered an inauspicious period. But October and November would bring in some cheer is terms of general expectation.
Shashank Pathak, centre director and ED, WestEnd Mall, said 95% of the permissible brands have reopened and around 40% customers have returned to the mall, this at a time when entertainment, multiplex or F&B sections are not operating and the mall is open from 11 am to 7 pm. Pathak expects to see a robust festival season with Made in India products being the flavour of the season.
Currently, people are focusing on their essential needs but the condition is improving by the day. “So, we have to stay positive and a 70% recovery is possible,” said Pathak.
“Customer sentiment was positive and they were straightaway heading to the brands they wanted and were out with shopping bags. If 100 people walked in there was 95% conversion,” Pathak said. At WestEnd Mall, a lot of action as seen in the electronics segment with mobile phones moving fast followed by fashion, beauty, sports/casual wears and homeware.
No trial and no exchange policy followed by most of the brands did not deter people from buying. Pathak said their first bill was for Rs 15,000 and last one was for Rs 15,000 and people were spending 1.5 to 1.6 times more than usual. People were sitting at home and not spending, so they had accumulated cash and were clearly looking at spending, Pathak said. The beauty and cosmetics saw 154% growth in sales.
Arun Arora, centre director, Phoenix Marketcity Pune, said the Phoenix mall in Pune, too, was buzzing during the Independence Day weekend and whoever was there was a serious buyer and footfall was fast converting to sales. The Croma and Reliance Digital stores had people lining up waiting for their turn to buy. Laptops, LED TVs, microwave, refrigerators and electric kettle were moving off the shelves, Arora said. “We. are looking at continuous progress and are sure people will get confidence to return as they see more safety measures being taken,” he said.
The response at the Amanora Mall was a surprise, said chief operating officer Surjit Singh Rajpurohit. Around 18,000 footfall and significant sales registered in the Independence Day weekend saw some real shoppers., said Rajpurohit. Here too electronics dominated the sale with high demand for mobile phones and laptops followed by casual wear and white goods. “The demand for white goods, too, was higher with dishwashers and washing machines among the top buys,” Rajpurohit said.
Single brand store, Fashionking, generated some interest during the Independence Day weekend. Koushik Marathe, director, Fashionking Brands, which has a network of 100 outlets selling formal clothes for men, said they had their worst ever time in the last four months. Though the demand for formal clothes has not returned, they did see some buying during Rakshabhandhan and Independence Day.
Retailers expect F&B and entertainment services to resume after the 10-day Ganesh festival by August end.