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Why Mumbai 24x7 is not a thumbs up with mall owners

By Viveat Susan Pinto and Raghavendra Kamath
January 26, 2020 10:01 IST

Experts feel that mall owners anticipate an increase in costs to the tune of 15-20 per cent annually, prompting a mixed response to the ‘24 hours’ initiative.

A mall owner said while the policy is good in spirit, implementing it would be a challenge as night shopping or eating out wasn’t a habit in Mumbai yet.

IMAGE: Mumbai's civic headquarters illuminated for Republic Day. Photograph: ANI Photo.

Mumbaikars may not get to fully experience a vibrant nightlife next week as differences emerge between retailers and mall owners over implementation of the ‘24 hours’ retail policy.

Mills and malls will be the first to take off as part of the Maharashtra government’s ambitious Mumbai ‘24X7’ initiative, which will begin on Monday. The policy envisages putting Mumbai on the global map in terms of night life, akin to other cities in the world.

While food and beverage operators are excited, including names such as Amit Jatia, vice-chairman, Westlife Development, and Riyaaz Amlani, chief executive officer (CEO), Impresario Entertainment and Hospitality, mall owners remain cautious.

 

Many say they will need to study the feasibility of the exercise before implementation.

“I am not sure about the roll out currently. We are in touch will our retailers to understand which days of the week they wish to keep their outlets open and what is the manpower requirement for this,” said Rajneesh Mahajan, CEO, Inorbit Malls, which has operations in Malad, Vashi and Sahar in the Andheri suburb of Mumbai.

Sachin Dhanawade, chief operating officer (COO), retail and real estate, Grauer and Weil India, which runs the Growel’s 101 mall in Kandivali, Mumbai, said its retailers are working out the financial impact of the initiative.

“We may try this out on weekends,” said Dhanawade, without specifying a date when his mall would begin overnight operations.

Experts feel that mall owners anticipate an increase in costs to the tune of 15-20 per cent annually, prompting a mixed response to the ‘24 hours’ initiative.

A mall owner said while the policy is good in spirit, implementing it would be a challenge as night shopping or eating out wasn’t a habit in Mumbai yet.

“It makes no sense that we keep our mall open for only food and beverage operators, who constitute just 15-20 per cent of our retail base. If this has to work, all retailers have to be on board. Currently retail players in fashion, lifestyle, grocery and appliances are not that excited. We will have to wait and watch to see how this works,” he said. 

Jatia, who runs McDonald’s stores in the west and south of India, said habits develop over time and that mall owners would have to take the initiative at some stage.

“Whether mall owners are on or not, we are. We are working out which of our stores we can keep open as part of the initiative,” he said.

Industry sources said Infiniti Mall, located in Andheri and Malad, is also experimenting with overnight operations during Republic Day.

Amlani said he sees greater co-operation from mall owners in the coming months. “Developing a night life takes time and this habit will form slowly. In about six to eight months, the situation should improve,” he added.

Viveat Susan Pinto and Raghavendra Kamath in Mumbai
Source: source
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