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Global meltdown, 26/11 hit gift shops biz
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December 30, 2008 15:40 IST

The global financial crisis and the recent terror attacks have hit the business of gift shops across the city particulary those in the malls.

"The overall business is down by 15-20 per cent but the business at malls is more down because the footfalls have come down as people are fearing to come. At stand alone stores, the business is normal as the locals are coming in," said Ram Prasad, Area Sales Manager, (Maharashtra and Goa), Archies Gallery.

At malls, the owners are facing problems to attract customers but at the same time the shopkeepers are expecting to generate good business in the coming days.

"The business is not that good as compared to last year as sales have dropped by nearly 20-25 per cent. We hope that the coming year will bring some kind of relief to us," said Amit Shah, Cashier, Archies Gallery at Raghuleela Mall in suburban Kandivali.

"The incident has created fear among the citizens and they hardly come to the mall. We thought since Diwali we would be able to generate good amount of business but things did not work at that time and now the situation is bad.

"We have also seen a drop in sales now atleast by January-February we expect the sales to pick up," said Irfan Shaikh, Manager, Blue Marine, Raghuleela Mall at Vashi in Navi Mumbai.

Kishore Biyani-led Future Group that owns Big Bazaar, has seen good business because of its on-going festival - 'The Great Indian Shopping Festival' at the mall.

"After we introduced the festival we have seen an increase in business of gift items and also an increase in terms of footfalls. We are expecting better sales. The recent terror attacks in Mumbai kept the citizens away from malls," said store manager, Mandar Naik, Big Bazaar at Vashi's Raghueela Mall.

Earlier, the business was a bit down since September because of recession and last month's terror attacks added more problems, he said.

The Future Group is eyeing a revenue of Rs 700 crore (Rs 7 billion) from the three-week long shopping festival that began on December 13.

The retail major has a pan-India presence of 1,000 outlets under its various brands, including Pantaloons, Big Bazaar, Food Bazaar, eZone, Hometown among others.

But there is a different story at stand-by stores which are doing good business but on slow pace.

"Like every year sales are also some what similar but the pace is a bit slow. We have not felt the effect of the recent terror attacks and global meltdown much as compared to others," said Jignesh Shah, manager, Archies Gallery at Churchgate in south Mumbai.

"We have seen a small amount of drop of nearly 10 per cent in our business as compared to the Christmas season last year.

"We purchase our goods from locals and we also import goods so in that case our business is bit affected. Most of our business is coming from college students. We hope things to be normal in some time," said Dhiraj Shah, manager, Satyam [Get Quote] Collection at Churchgate.

At Archies 'Me 2 you' is a new addition to their shops for Christmas and gift items are available at all major places across the city.

The 'Me 2 you' category include teddy bears, photo frames, paper bags, key chains available in a price range of Rs 250 to 2500 are making good sales.

"We have added few new items for our customers especially during Christmas at all the company outlets and A and B category franchise stores.

"Also there are few changes made to the existing items including musical soft toys and decorations," said Prasad.

Archies Gallery have chosen the three feet Christmas tree as the product of the month, the price of which is now Rs 99 from the earlier price of Rs 199 last year.

"The three feet tree are making good sales because of the reduction in prices. Around 15 to 20 pieces have been sold till now," said Jignesh.

The most common gift items found at all gift shops include Christmas tree, decorations, soft toys, caps and few other items.

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