Mumbai’s enhanced nightlife fails to enthuse city’s mall owners

  • Not all Mumbai mall owners are rushing to the idea of opening 24/7 due to concerns over additional costs, manpower and doubts over footfalls late night
  • Last week, Maharashtra approved its 'Mumbai 24 hour policy' allowing malls, shops and restaurants to open 24 hours and seven days week, if they wish to, from 27 Jan

Bidya Sapam
Published26 Jan 2020, 11:55 AM IST
At present, shops are allowed to open till 10 pm while restaurants can remain open till 1.30 am latest.
At present, shops are allowed to open till 10 pm while restaurants can remain open till 1.30 am latest.

Not all mall owners in Mumbai are rushing to the idea of opening 24/7 due to concerns over additional costs, manpower and doubts over footfalls late night. Many though term the Maharashtra government's move as progressive.

Last week, the Maharashtra cabinet approved its 'Mumbai 24 hour policy' allowing malls, shops and restaurants in the city to open 24 hours and seven days week, if they wish to, from 27 January. "We are hopeful that this move will provide jobs and revenue to our youth," Aditya Thackeray, tourism and environment minister in the state government had told reporters.

Several mall owners said they are yet to decide on whether they would keep their malls open all night. Few others plan to initially extend their food courts and eateries by a few more hours than usual, especially during the weekends, to gauge the footfalls and demand during wee hours.

At present, shops are allowed to open till 10 pm while restaurants can remain open till 1.30 am latest. The new regulation does not apply to pubs and bars which are required to shut by 1.30 am.

"We haven't decided to open 24/7 as of now. What we are doing right now is rolling out the food and beverages first. Our food courts will be open until 3 a.m. but only during the weekends. It is easier to get people to eat rather than shopping," said Mukesh Kumar, chief executive officer, Infiniti Mall.

A subsidiary of real estate company K Raheja Constructions, Infiniti Mall operates two malls at Andheri and Malad in Mumbai suburbs.

Kumar said it is too early to expect that the move would help improve consumption in the near future. "It's a complete change in habit. You don't start shopping next day from 12'o clock at night... And Mumbai is not really a big tourist centre. Though there are domestic tourists, there are not many international tourists. There will be some change but not immediately. It will take time, " Kumar said.

A spokesperson of Mumbai's leading mall Oberoi Mall declined to comment on the development.

According to Shubranshu Pani, managing director (retail services), JLL India, while retailers are delighted that it provides them opportunity to keep their shops open by few more hours, malls are not yet ready to remain open 24/7.

"Retailers are anyway struggling to get footfalls during the day and weekends. And the cost of operation of shopping centres in the evening every single hour is significantly high. You are targeting a fractional crowd but you have to keep all the services long," Pani said.

Such moves to open shops and eating joints would work only in high streets, highly populated areas, pass through places or places where there are call centres, he added.

Rajneesh Mahajan, chief operating officer (CEO), Inorbit Malls Pvt Ltd, said the company is yet to make a decision if their malls would remain open 24/7.

"We are still talking to retailers trying to understand what their views are on the additional working hours. It may take some to understand and get prepared. It is difficult to say whether we will be able to do it immediately because it takes a lot of preparation, manpower and look into other additional costs involved. New hiring has to happen to make it work, " Mahajan said.

He is doubtful if retailers have the ability to run 24 hours or attract consumers beyond certain time. "Unless there are larger offers on table consumers wouldn't find it interesting. We have not arrived at a decision right now, " he said.

Last week the Retailers Association of India (RAI) had welcome the state government's decision to allow shops, malls and restaurants to open 24/7.

Kumar Rajagopalan, chief executive officer, Retailers Association of India (RAI) said the move will help retailers achieve better sales as well as increase revenue collection for the state government. "More importantly, it will increase employment. Our expectation is that employment in the retail sector will increase by as much as 10% in the next three years, " Rajagopalan said.

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First Published:26 Jan 2020, 11:55 AM IST
HomeNewsIndiaMumbai’s enhanced nightlife fails to enthuse city’s mall owners

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