Mall operators find a way out in times of recession

Mall operators find a way out in times of recession

Bangalore: Come and make a purchase, for you may be the lucky one to win a designer car!

This is the “way-out" technique mall operators in the IT city have adopted to beat the impact of global meltdown and dip in business. Their basket of gifts also include gold coins, diamond necklaces and Salsa workshops among others.

Shopping malls, which witnessed a dip in profits after the global recession are now back to wooing “elusive" customers by dangling some lucrative carrots in front of the horse cart.

“We have seen a dip in footfalls by 20 to 30% in the last six months", says Anjani Kumar, marketing manager, Sigma Mall, a premier shopping complex located on the busy Cunningham Road.

The mall, which sees a visitor count of 8,000 to 11,000 every day and 15,000 to 20,000 on weekends and 20,000 to 25,000 on festival days, has been affected by recession, admits Kumar. Terror attack only compounded their woes.

According to Prateek Gupta, marketing manager, Bangalore Central, the sector had in general seen a fall of 30 to 50% while Bangalore Central saw a drop of 15% following some measures it took to control the downturn.

The IT sector which formed a sizeable chunk of consumers, accounting for nearly 25%, has seen a dip, says Kumar. In Sigma Mall, the IT shoppers comprised 60% of the crowd. However, following the meltdown there has been a decline of 20% in this customer segment.

The general consumer sentiment has become sceptical, says Prateek. “It is the global mindset of ‘no-spending´that has caught on here as well," says Kumar.

T G Vinod, manager, Garuda Mall, one of the busiest malls in the city, said, “There has been no major growth in the business, nor significant decline." Terror attacks and spate of rumours kept the consumers reluctant from visiting malls.

Encashing on the spirit of the season, malls like Sigma are offering free dance workshops to those dropping in for New Year shopping.

Also adding to the dazzle of the season are an array of contests. Bangalore Central, another premium shopping mall, has launched a contest where shoppers could win a Rs30 lakh designer car.

Bangalore Central has a basket of offerings with a 20 to 25% discount for those shopping for Rs2,000 and upward in addition to freebies from electronic goods to domestic consumer durables.

Admitting that the average bill size had dipped by 10%, Prateek says now the mall has launched a shopping festival with numerous discounts and packages to scale up the average bill size.

“We hope to see a turnover of Rs700 crore in the next four weeks for the Future Group across India", an optimistic Prateek says.

Garuda Mall manager Vinod says, “We also have been offering a gold coin every day to one of our lucky customers who fill in a form after purchases."

According to Prateek, sale of lifestyle products were severely affected by recession. White goods also had been impacted and so did sales on garments.

It seems college-goers are the least affected. “They appear to be a stable consumer crowd with recession little impacting them," says a mall manager.

According to Prateek, a survey of consumers had revealed that they wanted more goods in the same prize range, more discounts or attractive packages in tough times. The shopping festivals with discounts were in response to all their needs.

Malls too have begun trimming on their own expenditure and have begun building up efficiencies to tackle meltdown.

Operators of Garuda Mall, which sees a daily footfall of 45,000 and 70,000 on weekends were optimistic that the new year would augur well for the industry.