COVID-19 effect: Shopping malls coming up at snail’s pace across India

Chennai: As the business in malls has still not recouped to pre-Covid levels, mall development is moving at a snail’s pace.

The calendar year was supposed to see the launch of 54 new malls, spanning over 22.2 million sq. ft, as per the pre-Covid estimates. However, just 5 malls covering 2.75 million sq. ft have been completed yet. These new malls have come up in Gurgaon, Delhi, Lucknow and Bengaluru, as per the data from Anarock Retail.

The yet-to-recover business in malls has put the construction process on hold. Malls remained closed for a longer period even after the lockdown. As of August, malls were seeing 60 per cent sales of last year, though the footfalls were much lesser. However, malls are expecting the festive season to take the sales to 80 per cent.

"Since the shopping malls reopened across the country, the industry and mall developers have noticed more serious buyers walking-in with a set agenda of what to buy. While the dwell time has decreased, the ticket size has increased drastically. During the Navratri and Diwali season, shopping malls across the country have reported an increase in footfalls on a week-on-week basis and witnessed a continued growth during the weekends. We are hoping to reach 80 percent of sales on an average,” said Amitabh Taneja, Chairman, Shopping Centres Association of India.

Considering the slower pace at which mall development is taking place, many of the launches would be pushed to 2021. “Covid-19 added enormous pressure to the already delicately-poised Indian retail sector. The anticipated new mall supply was severely hit this year and most of it will spill over to 2021 and beyond. New completions have been deferred and leasing activity has been delayed,” said Anuj Kejriwal, CEO and MD of Anarock Retail.

However, even in 2021, only 14 new malls spread over 5.9 million sq ft are likely to get operational.


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