Friday, Sep 19, 2014

Print no longer fine: Crosswords downs shutters in two malls

Written by Debesh Banerjee | New Delhi | Posted: March 7, 2009 2:58 am

It seems the book industry is also feeling the effects of the economic slowdown. Two outlets of the famous Crosswords Bookstore,one in Ghaziabad’s Pacific Mall and the other in the MGF Metropolitan Mall in Saket,have downed their shutters in the last four months.

Now,the Delhi region has just two Crosswords outlets — at Select Citywalk in Saket and Shopper’s Stop in Rajouri Garden. “We were not able to register adequate profits,and since the lease period of two years was getting over for both outlets,we thought it best not to continue with operations,” Sivaraman Balakrishnan,deputy manager,marketing,said.

The company said the two outlets at the MGF mall (400 sq ft) and Select Citywalk (4,500 sq ft) were in the same area. “Since the two outlets were too close to each other,we shut one down,” Balakrishnan said.

Though the decision is being seen as a direct consequence of the market conditions,Balakrishnan stopped short of revealing the losses at both outlets.

“This move was in the pipeline for sometime. We were just waiting for the lease to get over,” he said.

For book lovers,however,the outlets meant a certain lifestyle. Youngsters and book lovers in general flocked here to catch up with friends and browse through the outlets’ collection of books.

“I would go and spend a decent number of hours browsing through the various novels and chatting with like-minded people. I would always find something related to my subject in the research section,” Nida Hasan,a Delhi University media student,said.

Book lovers feel the steep rentals charged by shopping malls are the cause behind such closures and in tough times special concessions should be given to book stores.

“These days,children are busy playing video games and sending emails rather than reading books. If this culture persists,a whole generation will be deprived of the knowledge books give,” entrepreneur Kalyani Chawla,who frequented the MGF Malloutlet,said.

Crosswords is,however,hopeful of bouncing back within the next three months,and plans to set up a few outlets in the Delhi region.

At present,the company has 51 outlets across the country,with a presence in 12 cities.

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