At malls, the last to recover will be cinema and eateries post lockdown, Retail News, ET Retail

At malls, the last to recover will be cinema and eateries post lockdown, Retail News, ET Retail

Covid-19 Impact: At malls, the last to recover will be cinema and eateries post lockdownBengaluru: Cinemas and food & beverage (F&B), the two largest segments that attract footfall at malls will be hit the hardest within discretionary categories post lockdown, said leading companies, retailers and mall owners in a webinar organised by Retailers Association of India.

“Food and cinema will be last to revive at shopping centres which will be a challenge as they are the largest foot-traffickers for a mall. About 10-15% of the traffic comes from cinema alone,” said Ashwin Puri, cofounder of Lake Shore India that has retail mall projects across Mumbai, Gurugram and Ahmedabad. “Electronics, home wares and fitness equipment retail will bounce back earlier as people will prefer to stay at home post lockdown,” added Puri.

Since early February, malls and retail stores witnessed a huge dip in footfall with nearly 20-25% drop in revenue. While post lockdown, most companies will have to tweak their layout, seating arrangements among other things, business model of cinemas will take time to change.

Alok Tandon, CEO of Inox Leisure, said, “Interval time between films will be staggered now to avoid crowding at food section and wash rooms. Restaurant operators will be asked to reduce the menu size and serve sanitized cutlery.”

Unlike the west where outdoor activities are primary leisure options, cinema and F&B are top weekend activity for Indians as well as crowd pullers at malls.

“We anticipate only 30-40% occupancy with higher operation costs and lower revenue due to implementation of contactless dining in the next few months. Malls and retailers need to work as partners now,” said Riyaaz Amlani, managing director of Impresario Entertainment and Hospitality, that owns Social and Smoke House Deli chains.

While places such as Mumbai could keep malls open for 24 hours earlier, most malls are now being forced to explore single shifts. Retailers, however, suggested malls to extend hours in the evenings to drive cinema and food sales post lockdown.

With 96% of all worldwide destinations introducing travel restrictions to contain the pandemic, few retailers noted that the shape and size of the wallet could shift towards mall entertainment.

“Travel will not be a priority for sometime. People will have higher disposable income for other forms of leisure and entertainment. Malls will thus regain focus,” said Vishak Kumar, CEO of Madura Fashion & Lifestyle.

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