Durga Puja has just gone by and for a moment, it was a break from thoughts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Malls raked in the moolah as the slow growth curve with months of lockdown and lower footfalls compared to previous year’s festive season, has not been a dampner. Wonder why?
Since September 1st from when the bars were allowed to operate as normal, the Durga Puja weekend sales have jumped three folds at South City Mall in Kolkata.
“We at South City have been focusing a lot on F&B(Food and Beverage) since reopening and offering our patrons a safe and hygienic environment. We have seen a huge growth in the F&B sector at our mall and with the trend we are confident of an upward growth.” Said Manmohan Bagree, Vice-President South City Projects.
The mall made the most of Calcutta High Court’s order making Durga puja pandals no entry zones for visitors and South City mall inturn opened it’s doors to festive revellers.
“Moreover this time the mall remained open till 2am, unlike previous years where we had closed down by 12 midnight. We wanted Kolkata to enjoy the puja in full spirit and the mall took care of their food, adda or hangout needs. It’s South City Mall, Kolkatan’s Mall.” Bagree goes on to explain.
Despite footfalls being 60% of what it was in the festive season of 2019, in 5 days of Durga Puja excluding the final day of dasami, South City Mall recorded sales of approximately Rs.2.5crore from F&B only.
Let’s move on to the scenario in Quest Mall which opened it’s doors to patrons on June 8th 2020 after months of lockdown and mall sales were at 29% as compared to June 2019. Since it reopened, average monthly sales growth trajectory from July to September 2020, for Quest mall is at 28%.
Category-wise business achievement on year on year basis, for the month of June 2020 as compared to June 2019 in Quest Mall are:
- Hyper – 70%
- Luxury brands- 32%
- Departmental store – 18%
- F&B – 10%
Let’s take a look at the category-wise average monthly sales at Quest Mall which stands at:
- Hyper – 12%
- Luxury brands – 25%
- Departmental store – 38%
- F&B – 50%
“These are difficult times that the retail industry has faced. As far as Quest is concerned, it has been a little slow. However our sales figures have improved, it is all positive, people are coming to the mall. We have reached nearly 40% of footfalls. We expect in the next three months to get it as close to 75-80%. I do see a good amount of confidence coming back in everybody’s fruitful season at the mall.” Said Sanjeev Mehra, Vice-President Quest Mall.
Amidst growing optimism, malls have not dropped safety standards and sanitization measures. “Safety is an important concern and we put technology to use to ensure we have the right amount of people in the mall. Ministry of Home Affairs(MHA) has allowed things to reopen, they themselves have relaxed all rules put in place. However we have not relaxed our measures.” Added Mehra.
Diwali is around the corner and then there is Christmas and new year’s eve celebrations. Will the coronavirus pandemic indeed make way for more cheer as more people are confident to eventually step out of their houses?