Do terror strikes, like the serial blasts in Delhi, affect shoppers' morale? The answer seems an obvious 'yes', but just in case you want proof, a comparison of the footfalls in Delhi's and Mumbai's malls would suffice.
The blasts happened just before the 15-day Shradh period when most Hindus shun conspicuous consumption. Sales of clothing, jewellery, automobiles and appliances dip during this period.
"Yes, there was a footfall loss in Mumbai's malls, but it was largely due to the Shradh, and a temporary phenomenon," says Vivek Sharma, Chief Marketing Officer, Philips India.
But now that the auspicious Navratras are on, Mumbai's shoppers are back in action. "We believe there is no drop in footfalls in our malls in Mumbai because of security concerns," says Kishore Bhatija, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Inorbit Malls.
Cut to Delhi, and the markets present a stark contrast. "For the past three weeks (the blasts occurred on September 13), weekend footfalls have dropped by 20 to 30 per cent," says Manmohan Agarwal, CEO, Corporate Affairs, Vishal Retail. Vishal has 21 stores in Delhi.
Ravinder Zutshi, Deputy Managing Director, Samsung India Electronics, agrees that: "Consumer mood is definitely down with blasts happening every two weeks." But he feels that sales would improve if the situation remains stable.
Investing in security
Not willing to take any chances, malls in Mumbai have also beefed up security. Investments are being made to install high-tech cameras that can record each and every entry. "We are closely monitoring people. We are not allowing items like laptops inside the building," says Mumbai-based Ashok Maheshwari, Managing Director, Magnet Retail.
Mumbai Police are also working overtime to pre-empt any terror strike. "We have asked mall owners to use X-ray machines," says Prakash George, Senior Inspector, Bandra police station.