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Malls, restaurants struggle as customers remain wary



BENGALURU: Malls and restaurants are seeing extremely low footfalls since reopening earlier this month. Restaurants are particularly struggling, given early closure timings and the ban on serving alcohol.

While most retailers have opened their stores in malls, shopping complexes have at best seen 15-20% of footfalls compared to pre-Covid times and mall owners do not expect the situation to improve before the festive season.
DLF’s malls in NCR have footfalls of just 6,000 per day, compared to 30,000 in normal times, its executive director Pushpa Bector, said.

Mohit Pruthi, head of retail at Bharti Realty, said at a webinar last week that Aerocity in Delhi is seeing 15-20% of pre-Covid footfalls . “Families are not coming and all purchases are planned. If it continues the way it is now, we should be seeing 70-80% of pre-Covid levels by Diwali,” he said.

Mall executives from across the country say sales and walk-ins have been hit because of restricted timings, gaming and movie arenas remaining shut, and customers still being wary of stepping out.

Rakesh Biyani, MD of Future Retail, said footfalls are weak in spite of the safety measures. “Since Covid cases are still rising, there is an underlying fear among customers. Only customers who have an immediate shopping need are visiting,” he said. Latest CommentWin win for both parties if rents are loweredSumeet

For restaurants, both in high streets and malls, footfalls are down and customers are preferring take-away. The decision to shut restaurants at 9pm hasn’t helped either. “The lack of alcohol sale is another factor. Sales have been very dismal, just 10-20% of previous times,” said Anurag Katriar, president of National Restaurants Association of India and CEO at de-Gustibus Hospitality.

Prathik Shetty, owner of The Reservoire restaurant in Bengaluru, says the biggest revenue generator used to be group parties, but those are not happening at all.

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