Three months since they re-opened, malls in Pune have reported good footfall. Now, with multiplexes being allowed to reopen as well, malls are optimistic that business will return to normal by the end of December.
Under Mission Begin Again, malls were allowed to reopen for business on August 5, with ample measures for crowd control. Marshals have been deployed, and AI-enabled cameras have been installed to detect crowds, alongside frequent sanitisation. Multiplexes and entertainment centres were kept closed.
Malls reported heavy losses due to the prolonged lockdown. Only sections dealing with essential commodities were allowed to function, and thus, retail sales had come to a standstill. Some malls had even expressed worries that individual stores would be forced to give up their premises in want of rent.
With the festive season underway, malls are hopeful for brisk business. Surjit Singh Rajpurohit, chief operating officer at Amanora Mall, said business was almost normal for them. “At present, footfall is almost 85 to 87 per cent of that in pre-Covid days. We hope once multiplexes start functioning, things will go back to normal,” he said. On weekdays, Amanora reports a footfall of around 30,000 to 35,000, and around 40,000-43,000 on the weekends.
The main drivers, Rajpurohit said, came from the Food and Beverage sector, with apparels and electronics sale picking up as well. “We are witnessing pent up demand for when business had stopped due to the lockdown,” he added.
Apparel store owners, who had complained of unsold inventory due to the lockdown, have started stocking up on new ranges. “Unsold inventory may be offloaded on alternative online platforms,” Rajpurohit said.
At Phoenix Market City, 50 per cent footfall has been reported. Arun Arora, centre director, said electronics, jewellery and apparel have been the main drivers of sale. “Footfall may seem less, but only serious shoppers are coming to the mall, thus, business is good,” he said.
Other than a multiplex, Phoenix also has an entertainment centre, which has remained closed. Arora said that once all sectors are allowed to function normally, business will be normal as well.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines