Malls in Mumbai reopened after over four months to a footfall of 15-20 percent even as unrelenting showers whipped through the city on Wednesday.
Middle-aged and young people made up the crowd at the malls which saw almost no children and senior citizens among the visitors.
Most of the outlets that were open are in the business of apparels, electronics, footwear and cosmetics, among others.
The city has 12 big malls mostly located in the suburbs, excluding Navi Mumbai and Thane.
Commenting on malls being allowed to open in Mumbai under Unlock3, Grauer and Weil (India) Chief Operating Officer Retail and Real Estate Sachin Dhanawade said, “We are delighted to open after more than four months of lockdown. We were expecting low footfalls as people are stepping out of their homes if it is very necessary.”
Grauer and Weil (India) operates Growel’s 1O1 Mall in the Kandivali suburb of Mumbai.
Mr Dhanawade said that in other markets where malls have been opened for over a month now, customers have been visiting malls only for planned purchases.
“The heavy rains in Mumbai have impacted the footfalls on the opening day, but customers with intent to shop did drop by Growel’s 1O1 and we saw about 15-20 per cent of footfalls,” he noted.
Mr Dhanawade said he is confident that as consumers become more aware about the safety arrangements, they will return to the malls for shopping.
Oberoi Mall’s General Manager Anuj Arora said that despite the inclement weather, it was encouraging to witness a spike in footfall in the second half of the day.
“We are positive that we will see footfalls ramping up rapidly as there is high pent-up demand, and the festive season is also round the corner,” he added.
The mall, he said, ensured that all safety and precautionary measures, as mandated by the government, are followed.
“We have endeavoured to re-imagine the entire shopping experience with minimum disruption to our patrons’ convenience while ensuring that they have a safe and secure shopping environment. We are glad to see our patrons being equally supportive in adhering to all the safety measures while they are at the mall,” he added.
Rajendra Kalkar, President (west) of The Phoenix Mills, said the mall reopened with a good 65 per cent occupancy.
“Due to rains, a lot of staff could not reach and some stores could not open. We expect the count to reach 80 per cent in a day or so once the weather gets better,” he added.
Shops like Zara, H&M, Lifestyle, Tumi, Bath & Body Works, Forest Essentials, Reliance Digital, Muji and Michael Kors, among others, saw shoppers dropping by, he noted.
“Due to rains, footfalls were restricted but we had customers coming from Worli, Prabhadevi and Dadar areas of the city. Given the weather conditions, it was a good and successful day, I would say,” he added.
Also, a few food and beverage outlets were open only for takeaways and home delivery, he added.
Inorbit Mall, at both Malad and Vashi, also resumed its operation on Wednesday after four months of shutdown prompted by the pandemic.
In accordance with the new government directives and with all safety measures in place, the mall reopened its doors for consumers while ensuring their safety, Inorbit Malls CEO Rajneesh Mahajan said.
“We are elated to announce the opening of Inorbit malls in Mumbai with all safety measures in place so that shoppers could have a safe and stress-free shopping experience,” he added.
Mr Mahajan added that with the festive season round the corner, retailers have new and exciting collections. “For those who cannot make it, Inorbit has introduced various innovative services like video call, home deliveries and curb side pick-up through which they can shop from the comfort of their homes.”
However, Infiniti Malls will reopen on Friday as stores needed more time to prepare to resume operations.
“Just a conscious call to start on Friday. This gives everyone enough time to get their resources and get the store ready for operation,” Infiniti Malls CEO Mukesh Kumar said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)