Malls in Mumbai resume operations after four months; rains hinder footfall

Topics Malls | Coronavirus | Mumbai rains

A worker in PPE sanitizes the interiors of High Street Phoenix mall in Mumbai’s Lower Parel on Thursday. The Maharashtra government has allowed shopping malls and marketplaces to reopen between 9 am and 7 pm from August 5 | Photo: KAMLESH PEDNEKAR

Even as torrential rains lashed the city, the malls in Mumbai witnessed 15-20 per cent footfall on Wednesday, on opening after a gap of over four months.

The malls were mostly visited by individuals who were middle age and young, however, there were no children and senior citizens among the visitors.

Most of the outlets that were open were apparels, electronics, footwear and cosmetics, among others.

The city has 12 big malls mostly located in the Mumbai suburbs, excluding Navi Mumbai and Thane.

Commenting on malls being allowed to open in Mumbai under Unlock 3.0, Grauer and Weil (India) Chief Operating Officer Retail and Real Estate Sachin Dhanawade said, "We are delighted to open after more than four months of lockdown. We were expecting low footfalls as people stepped out of their homes if it is very necessary."

Grauer and Weil (India) operates Growel's 1O1 Mall in the Kandivali suburb of Mumbai.

He said that in other markets where malls have opened for a month, customers have been visiting malls only for planned purchases.

"The heavy rains in Mumbai have impacted the footfalls on the opening day, but customers with intent to shop did drop by Growel's 1O1 and we saw about 15-20 per cent of footfalls," he noted.

Dhanawade said he is confident that as consumers become more aware about the safety arrangements, they will start resuming shopping.

Oberoi Mall General Manager Anuj Arora said that despite the inclement weather, it was encouraging to witness a spike in footfall in the second half of the day.

"We are positive that we will see footfalls ramping up rapidly as there is high pent-up demand, and the festive season is also round the corner," he added.

The mall, he said, ensured that all safety and precautionary measures as mandated by the government are followed.

"We have endeavoured to re-imagine the entire shopping experience with minimum disruption to our patrons' convenience while ensuring that they have a safe and secure shopping environment. We are glad to see our patrons also being equally supportive in adhering to all the safety measures while they are at the mall," he added.

Rajendra Kalkar, president (west) of The Phoenix Mills, said the mall was opened with a good 65 per cent occupancy.

"Due to rains, a lot of staff could not reach and some stores could not open. We expect the count to reach 80 per cent in a day or so once the weather gets better," he added.

The footfalls were there at shops like Zara, H&M, Lifestyle, Tumi, Bath & Body Works, Forest Essentials, Reliance Digital, Muji and Michael Kors, among others, he noted.

"Due to rains, footfalls were restricted but we had customers coming from Worli, Prabhadevi and Dadar areas of the city. Given the weather conditions, it was a good and successful day I would say," he added.

Also, a few food and beverage outlets were open only for takeaways and home delivery, he added.

Inorbit Mall at both Malad and Vashi also resumed its operation on Wednesday after four months of shutdown because of the ongoing pandemic.

In accordance with the new government directives and with all safety measures, the mall opened its doors for consumers ensuring that consumers safety is of utmost priority, Inorbit Malls CEO Rajneesh Mahajan said.

"We are elated to announce the opening of Inorbit malls in Mumbai with all safety measures in place so that shoppers could have a safe and stress-free shopping experience," he added.

Mahajan added that with the festive season round the corner, retailers have new and exciting collections. "For those who cannot make it, Inorbit has introduced various innovative services like video call, home deliveries and curb side pick-up through which they can shop from the comfort of their homes."

However, Infiniti Malls will reopen on Friday as stores needed more time to prepare to resume operations.

"Just a conscious call to start on Friday. This gives everyone enough time to get their resources and get the store ready for operation," Infiniti Malls CEO Mukesh Kumar said.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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