July, August and September are three months that seldom excite shopping mall owners and retailers as most of consumers refrain from shopping owing to Monsoon and inauspicious Shraddh. If mall owners and retailers are lucky, they see a 6-7 per cent increase in footfalls during these months, but the economic slowdown this year has added to their woes. Footfalls in the said months increased by a paltry 2-6 per cent. Revenue growth has not been encouraging either.
Rajendra Kalkar, President (West), The Phoenix Mills, says that as opposed to a 10 per cent growth during July-September, this year it has been barely 6 per cent. Keeping the slowdown in mind, mall owners and retailers this year are wooing consumers by creating experiences and offering them a host of freebies.
Nexus Malls kicked off an event titled '30-Days of Happiness' last month, for which it roped in actor Ayushman Khurrana as its happiness ambassador. The month-long event had a host of fun activities, which according to Nishank Joshi, CMO, Nexus Malls, resulted in a revenue growth of 10 per cent last month. "This quarter our sales have grown by 18 per cent and footfalls have increased by 14 per cent." For the upcoming Diwali, Nexus has crafted a theme around the epic Ramayana, where consumers will get to play games based on the scenes of Ramayan. The mall is also giving out gifts and gift vouchers. "We are giving out 2 lakhs vouchers this time (as opposed to a few thousands earlier). Instant gratification always works," points out Joshi.
Mukesh Kumar, CEO, Infinity Malls, says that there has been a damp sentiment this year and the footfalls and revenue growth have been low. To incentivise consumers to walk into malls, it has become absolutely necessary to create experiences. "Retailers are working hard to get consumers to visit their stores by offering a plethora of offers. Durga Puja in the East is as important as Diwali in the West and North and the malls in the eastern part of the country have had good puja sales. We are hoping to see a similar trend in our malls in Mumbai."
Oberoi Mall started the festival season with a beauty festival. Beauty retailers in the mall have not only come up with lucrative deals, but also are conducting activities such as free make-up sessions, which are a crowd-puller, says Anuj Arora, General Manager, Oberoi Mall. The mall also allures customers with deals such as an opportunity to win a Mercedes for shopping bills above Rs 15,000. The mall is also amplifying its ethnic collection on social media by doing photoshoots with influencers and creating look-books. Arora claims that the events at the mall during the Dussehra week have resulted in a high single digit growth in revenues despite the slowdown. "There is pent up demand and we are doing everything possible to incentivise consumers to spend," says Arora.
Palladium Mall, which is the luxury offering of High Street Phoenix, plans to entice the discerning luxury consumer by giving them an opportunity to view works of highly acclaimed contemporary artists such as Valaya Shinde. High Street Phoenix has set up a Marvel Avenger Station, which is a replica of the Marvel Studio. The entry price for this is in the region of Rs 600 and Rs 1,500. It has been attracting around 4,000-5,000 footfalls in the mall everyday, claims Kalkar. The footfalls in the mall have increased by 5-7 per cent over the last one week and Kalkar hopes that the momentum will continue till Diwali.
Will it be business as usual for the malls this festive season? Although mall owners sound optimistic, they eventually admit that even a growth of 7-8 per cent will give them reasons to rejoice. Malls earn nearly 50 per cent of their revenues during festive season and incurring 25 per cent growth has been common. However, this surely will be a far cry this festival season.