BO blackout spells KO for mall shops | delhi | Hindustan Times
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BO blackout spells KO for mall shops

Shopkeepers and storeowners at malls across Delhi and its satellite cities complained the feud has come as a double whammy along with the economic downturn, reports Manoj Sharma .

delhi Updated: May 23, 2009 23:04 IST
Manoj Sharma

“You can play cricket here,” said toyshop owner Rakesh Sibal.

No, Sibal was not offering his shop — Geeta’s Toy World — or the space around it for the game. He was describing the state of the malls since the standoff between the multiplex owners and producers began six weeks ago.

Shopkeepers and storeowners at malls across Delhi and its satellite cities complained the feud has come as a double whammy along with the economic downturn.

According to them, sales have dipped as footfalls have reduced by 30-35 per cent because no new films are being screened.

“I bought the shop here because I thought that the multiplex will ensure a steady flow of customers,” said Sibbal. “My business has been affected by 80 per cent.”

Berty Lal, manager of Dockers store at Select City Walk in Saket, complained his business has come down by 50 percent in one month.

The scene is no different in Gurgaon malls.

“Our business has declined by at least 20 per cent,” said Nitin Katyal, manager of OM Book Store in Metropolitan Mall, Gurgaon.

Restaurants too have the same story to tell.

At Yellow Chilli in Pacific Mall, Ghaziabad, business has declined by 80 per cent. K.N. Umesh, manager (operations), at the restaurant said: “Multiplexes act as a catalyst for retailing. They contribute to about 40 per cent footfalls.”

He was not exaggerating.

Multiplexes, the studies show, are the most effective traffic generator in malls across the country contributing to about 40-45 per cent footfalls. Malls in the NCR record an average footfall of 14,000 to 18,000 per day. On a houseful day, 6,000 to 9,000 people turn up for the shows.

Some people disagree.

“The footfalls may have come down by 15 percent. It can not affect retailers that much,” said Gautam Monga, AGM, marketing, MGF Metropolitan Mall in Gurgaon.

Amitabh Taneja, convener, India Retail Forum, too said multiplexes do not necessarily promote the cause of retail. “People either come to shop or watch a film,” he said.

He, however, agreed that restaurants could be affected.

But for Aslam Khan, who owns Nine Shoes at Centrestage Mall, moviegoers are big customers. “Many of my customers are the ones who just hang around waiting for a movie to start,” he said.