Mumbai malls struggle to stay put

Priyanka Pani Manisha Jha Mumbai | Updated on March 12, 2018

No takers: As busy as beehives once, many malls now wear a deserted look.

Palm Beach Galleria, once a sprawling mall, is now a favourite dating spot for couples to spend hours in the near-empty food court, uninterrupted by any moral police.

Launched with much fanfare in 2006 in Navi Mumbai, the 3.8-lakh-sq-ft space now only houses two stores –Vijay Sales and More Retail. Neighbouring mall City Centre is another example of a plaza that is now being haunted for all the wrong reasons. These are not the only ones, say property consultants. According to Beyond Square Feet, a mall management consultancy, some 32 malls across India have shut in the last four years, with 12 of them in Mumbai alone.

In the last one year, the city has seen City Mall (at Andheri), Kohinoor (at Kurla) and Dreamz (at Bhandup) close down, while others such as Evershine (at Lokhandwala) and Mega Mall (at Oshiwara) are poised to down shutters.

Launched last year with the promise of establishing itself as Mumbai’s biggest mall housing 300 shops over 4 million sq ft, Phoenix Market City in Kurla, a midtown suburb of the metropolis, is now struggling to attract footfalls and retain retailers.

Desperation among Mumbai mall developers is running high, given the burgeoning real estate prices. According to Kishore Bhatija, owner of Inorbit Mall, the cost has risen by 300 per cent in Mumbai, which is 50 times more than markets such as Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai or Kolkata. Shubhranshu Pani, Managing Director, Retail, Jones Lang LaSalle India, said: “The growth in retail in terms of end use of consumption and buying for the last two years has slowed down and is likely to continue. This is why no developer has announced plans to launch any malls in Mumbai this year.”

Besides poor consumption, lack of proper planning and management is being cited as the main reason for the failure. Sushil Dungarwal, Chief Mall Mechanic of Beyond Square Feet, said other factors include bad design and retail mix.

“The strata-sold model, wherein mall space is sold in parts, is also turning out to be a hurdle with investors only bothering with their returns rather than the mall’s longevity,” Subhranshu said.

Prescriptive options for developers to revive comatose malls include creating key anchor stores to lure other retailers, or using the centre for alternative use such as local shopping units, offices or commercial space, Subhranshu said.

Bhatija of Inorbit said that developers would have to focus on innovation and activation programmes to bring in customers. “Owners are not in a hurry to increase rentals, but are focusing on getting more footfalls and having a healthy trading density,” he said.



Published on April 06, 2013

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