“Footfall at Quest has gone up from 2,750 on Monday to 4,200 on Tuesday. On Wednesday, we believe the footfall was close to 6,000. Customers look more confident walking into the mall. The anxiety that some may have had about hygiene and safety issues on Monday have dissipated with customers sharing their experience with family and friends,” said Quest mall vice-president Sanjeev Mehra, who is looking forward to the first weekend after the reopening.
Though the increase is not as dramatic in other malls, all have registered a growth. While count at South City saw more than 9,000 walk in on Wednesday, up from 8,000 that was recorded both on Monday and Tuesday, the footfall at City Centre-I in Salt Lake went up from 7,000 on Monday to 8,000 on Wednesday.
“We are witnessing incremental growth. What is heartening is that people are shopping and eating at the food court. They appear to be at ease, reflecting a growth in confidence as well as acceptance that a mall is safer to be in than a neighbourhood market,” said South City mall vice-president Manmohan Bagree.
Jadavpur resident Udayendu Bose had initially decided that he would go to the mall only when the pandemic subsided but ended up visiting it on the third day after it reopened. “I used to visit the mall at least three days a week. Although, I was excited about it opening again, I was anxious about stepping into a public space. But my friends, who had visited the mall on Monday and Tuesday, convinced me there was nothing to worry about and here I am today,” said Bose, while exiting the mall after purchasing a pair of sweat shirts and having a quick bite at the food court.
At City Centre in Salt Lake, footfall was up 15% since Monday but sales improved 20% as people continued to make purcahses that have been pending for over two months.
The scene was similar at the other malls with South City, Quest and Acropolis management estimating the sales rise at 20-25%.
“People are coming with their teenage children and spending time in the food court. It shows they feel confident about the place. That’s an extremely encouraging sign for the hospitality industry as well,” said Ramesh Pandey, wholetime director at Ambuja group that owns and operates City Centre-I in Salt Lake and City Centre-II in New Town.
Acropolis mall general manager K Vijayan said the encouraging signs had led to a lot of optimism ahead of the crucial weekend. “Wednesday is generally the most lean day in a mall. Hence, the 5,000-plus footfall at this time is more than decent,” he said.