Retailers across India reported a stellar 4th weekend in Apr. ’22 ahead of Ramzan, in what could be one of the best months in the past 3 years. the Fashion Retail industry, especially has been extremely stressed with burgeoning inventory, thanks to a low sell-through during the season and fewer takers during EoSS – End of Season Sale, thanks to terrific competition from e-commerce companies.
Many Malls in India reported ever highest footfalls during the 22-24 April weekend and are rejoicing a near-full parking area (for cars), a sight which speaks lots of customer traffic. Multiplexes across India reported over 95% occupancy for all shows over the weekend with pan-India releases such as KGF 2, RRR among others rocking at the Box Office despite stiff competition with vernacular language releases.
“Customers are back in the stores, it feels like Deepavali rush of 2018-19”, says Rashmi, a store in0charge in one of the tony malls in South Bangalore. “I have not seen this kind of enthusiasm by shoppers in a very long time. We didn’t have enough time to take tea / lunch breaks, but we are not complaining, as we will earn sales incentives this month after 3 years!”, gushes Rashmi. Merchandisers are equally stunned at the take-off of merchandise during the mid-season, which is usually when sales slows down. Baisakhi, Bihu, Ugadi, Tamil New Year and Ramzan (shopping) all collided in a single month, which is nothing short of a bounty for retailers.
Food Court operators are the most satisfied lot in the melee. Usually, shoppers (and diners) do not visit a mall only to eat at a food court, especially. Considered to be relatively less-expensive than the stand alone stores in the malls, food courts attract hordes of diners, mostly families and groups of friends who prefer to share a meal or two. Dinesh, a franchisee at one of the malls in Bangalore where he runs an ice-cream shop wonders why are consumers eating so much of ice-cream all of a sudden. “Seems like people have thrown away the notion that Covid-19 gets aggravated with ice-cream, so they are now back in full flow, just like a few years ago”, says a happy Dinesh who would be placing more orders to his Franchisor this month than in the past 4 years. “Even in 2019, I didn’t see this kind of rush to eat ice-cream at Malls, I am so happy”, says Dinesh.
Specialty stores & Department stores have seen a 3x surge in footfalls, according to most Managers who run the 30,000 – 50,000 set large format stores. Sales have doubled over the weekend compared to similar weekends all through the year. Even as the Fourth wave of the pandemic is looming, with cases being reported all across major states, shoppers have seem to have taken the wave head-on, perhaps due to their confidence in their own vaccine shots. The scorching summer of May 2022 is said to drive more shoppers to malls anyway.