While there are still a few government imposed restrictions at play, people have been thronging to malls and multiplexes since the second lockdown was lifted. To understand how this translates into footfalls and what it means in terms of revenue, CNBC-TV18 spoke to Rajneesh Mahajan, CEO, Inorbit Malls; and Mukesh Kumar CEO, Infiniti Mall.
First up, Kumar said that footfalls have returned at malls. He believes even if there is a third COVID
wave, malls will be open. He said, "What is working now in our favour today is that people have understood when you go to the mall it is very safe. A sense of security and a safe feeling is what is adding to the mall footfall. I don't think there is too much concern about the new virus. Things are looking better and there is absolutely no looking back now. Even if we have a third wave, I don’t think there is any looking back for malls now."
On per capita spends at malls, Kumar said, "As far as per person spend is concerned, it has gone up by almost 30 percent."
On price increase, Kumar added, "In many categories, the prices have gone up by almost 10-15 percent."
Mahajan also reiterated that recovery in 2021 was much faster than what was observed after the first wave of COVID. He said, "I think this year the recovery was much faster unlike last year after the lockdown. It took us nearly three months to show a healthy recovery. This year by the second or third week post lockdown, we saw the recoveries were very good."
On healthy recovery in rentals, Mahajan said, "If this trend continues, the three quarters of this financial year would see a very healthy recovery in rentals as well as for the consumption that retailers are experiencing." He added that discounts are no longer being given on rentals.
Mahajan also mentioned that he is seeing a sharp surge in spends per person as well. According to him, footfalls in Maharashtra have improved. He said that it is 70 percent of pre-COVID but consumption is over 90-95 percent.
"In the states and cities where there are no restriction, we are seeing a recovery of close to 85 to 90 percent in footfall and we are seeing growth in consumption close to 18 to 25 percent. States where there are restrictions like Maharashtra, the footfalls are close to 70 percent, but consumption is close to 90-95 percent recovered and I am comparing it to pre-COVID numbers," he mentioned.
On multiplexes, he said, "Multiplexes because of the content is available, we are also seeing a healthy recovery. They may not have recovered in Maharashtra at par with pre-pandemic numbers, but they are very close to pre-pandemic numbers. And the lineup of movie releases is very strong so we expect next quarter to be strong for movies and multiplex business."
For the full interview, watch the accompanying video.