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Slowing economy takes sheen,customers off Bangalore malls

Every year,people make a beeline for malls during the festive season between August and mid-January.

Written by Harsha Raj Gatty | Bangalore | Published: September 3, 2013 2:52:05 am

The ripple effect of the economic downturn has hit retail malls across Bangalore this festive season. In the Central Business District,malls are witnessing a sharp drop of 30 percent in sales revenue compared to last year; elsewhere,revenue losses are close to 50 percent.

Every year,people make a beeline for malls during the festive season between August and mid-January. This year,however,even such offers as flat 50 percent discount have not enthused clients.

“Lately,middle-income shoppers,the largest clientele at malls,have changed their priorities due to the sharp price rise. People are deferring expenses on imported and branded goods such as clothing,eateries and entertainment. Malls,therefore,are affected by low consumption trend,” Uday Garudachar,Managing Director of Garuda Mall in the CBD said.

In CBD areas such as MG road,Commissariat Road,Magrath Road,Vittal Mallya Road and Cunningham Road,the malls are said to be registering sales of no more than 70 percent of what they did this time last year. And retail spaces at Koramangala,Whitefield,Malleswaram,Rajaji Nagar are not mostly empty and sales have dropped by 50 percent over the previous year.

“Usually during the festive season,we make up our losses. Unfortunately,shopping tendency this season has been dull. While there is consistent footfall,the majority are window shoppers,” Zakir Ahmed,a retailer in a mall at Brigade Road,said.

This has prompted retailers to scale down inventories of exclusive goods and instead stock products based on popular demand. “It is a high risk gamble to import exclusive items at the existing exchange rate. Unless such items are demanded by regular patrons,we have stopped selling them,” another retailer in a mall said.

According to market analysts,operational costs of all 25 malls in Bangalore have risen substantially due to increased costof labour,maintenance,revision of property guidance values and property. And malls fear continued poor spending by customers may force them to downsize staff.

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