Malls are now witnessing a gradual increase in footfalls post the Covid 19 restrictions. With nearly all retail establishments now open, Mall management are trying their best to provide a highly safe environment for their patrons amidst the pandemic fear. With sales improving month-on-month, Mall management are confident about achieving the pre-covid numbers at the earliest.
Manish Joshi from NewsBarons connects with Pancham Lillaney, Chief Marketing Officer at R Retail Ventures Pvt. Ltd., who informs ‘The vaccine roll-out has certainly given a boost to consumer sentiments and shoppers are increasingly comfortable getting back to the mall’.
NB: Mall business has been severely impacted due to lockdown, how do you see business growth in 2021?
Pancham: The business growth has witnessed a gradual increase since the malls reopened its doors after the lockdown. The initial months saw a recovery of 65% sales and the festive months took the number to 90% of the pre-Covid level. We are hoping that given the positive outlook, things will improve in 2021. The month-on-month sale looks optimistic too. We have resumed most of our operations, with a safety-first approach, and we are certainly excited about the growth opportunities in 2021. For the upcoming year, we have planned a range of engaging marketing activities such as big giveaways and other attractive offers along with strong media promotions.
NB: Offline retail has been severely impacted, and with pandemic fear and restrictions, do you see a major increase in footfalls going forward?
Pancham: The vaccine roll-out has certainly given a boost to consumer sentiments and shoppers are increasingly comfortable getting back to the mall. Slowly, we are witnessing that people are back to enjoying normal times with friends and family. At R City Mall, we have adopted the best-in-class safety and hygiene measure to ensure a safe shopping experience. We have implemented an array of innovative and tech-driven initiatives such as ‘Automated Thermal Scanning’, ‘UV-C Sterilization Check’, ‘Wheel Disinfection Pit’ and sensor-based ‘Hand Sanitization Stations’. A key focus has been given to on minimal touch whereby all the stores have been equipped to provide contactless digital payment solutions to customers. We are all prepared to ensure a hassle-free experience for all our patrons.
NB: Will the fourth quarter help improve the numbers, compared to the previous 3 quarters?
Pancham: Looking at the positive outlook, we are hoping that the growth will soon reach pre-covid levels. In the last few months, we have already seen a recovery in sales of up to 90%. In the previous quarter (Q3), we decided to gratify the customer with their 1st home in Runwal My City along with other high-value prizes included Bose home theatre system, diamond jewellery, and gold coins. This was the first time that a mall gave away an apartment as the Grand Prize for a campaign. The campaign, Back to Happy – Back to R City, received an overwhelming response from the shoppers with the event registering over 10,000 participations during the period. Most of our stores are operational now, including FECs, F&Bs and Multiplex. We have also witnessed a surge in month-on-month sales and we are hoping that things will improve in the immediate future. We have planned various engaging activities at the mall including the spring-summer décor, big giveaways and other attractive offers.
NB: What are the company growth plans for FY2021-22?
Pancham: This year, R City Mall is undergoing a 360-degree upgrade with upscale interiors, the introduction of sensory elements such as perfume architecture, live music, attractive installations at regular intervals, and dedicated concierge service amongst many others. We also plan to focus on experiences that are unique to R City, such as large scale décor and art installations; kids focused events and activations; open-air events and experiences at The Courtyard; big-scale fashion events and IPs to connect better with our premium target audiences from the catchment. Overall, we will continue to carry forward the momentum gained in the last few months to delight our customers and exceed their expectations at all touchpoints.