Mumbai mall biz battles to survive as shoppers flee

Mumbai mall biz battles to survive as shoppers flee

It's a toss-up between closure, change of stripes

Mumbai mall biz battles to survive as shoppers flee

It certainly seems that all is not well for malls in the so-called commercial capital of India, Mumbai, and its outskirts. At least 4-5 iconic malls are on the verge of closure leading to the question of whether it is really feasible to build malls and maintain them.

The ‘Nirmal Lifestyle Mall’ on LBS Road, Mulund, which started operations around 2003, was perhaps one of the oldest malls in the area. It has been continuously witnessing a reduction in footfalls due to the influx of competitors in the area.

The mall either leases or sells space to shop owners. A number of shop owners have already given up their shops after their leases got over, while others are waiting for their leases to expire to return the shops to the builder. Sources indicate that the mall will be converted into a residential space and some of the shop owners who have bought space are returning them in exchange for apartments in the buildings that will come up. An email and calls to Nirmal Lifestyle chairman and managing director Dharmesh Jain did not elicit any response till the time of going to press.

Many other malls have already stopped functioning or are awaiting a similar fate quite soon. ‘Milan Mall’, situated in Santacruz, had shut shop in 2011 and is likely to be re-opened as a garment hub soon. The ‘Centre One Mall’ in Vashi is also on the verge of shutting down due to reduced footfalls, sources said.

The ‘Dreams Mall’ in Bhandup is likely to encourage commercial establishments like banks and clinics, instead of retail shops, due to very low occupancy levels, sources said. Shop owners at ‘Raghuleela Mall’ in Kandivili, meanwhile, have been protesting against power outages in their shops.

According to Susil Dungarwal, chief mall mechanic at Beyond Squarefeet, a mall advisory firm, there are three key reasons for the failure of a mall. “One, the mall is not well designed after extensive research; two, its features do not match customer profiles; and finally, the mall is not managed professionally,” Dungarwal says.