Shopping malls, multiplexes and top retailers in Pune are seeing as much as a 70 per cent drop in business owing to the swine flu outbreak in the city.
The 10 multiplexes and 20 movie halls in Pune are expected to suffer losses for a week since they have shut shop on government orders. Though only two malls out of 15 have downed shutters, those that are open are also seeing a sharp decline in footfalls.
"Even before the directive was announced, our occupancy had dipped 25 to 30 per cent. On an average, our daily collection is close to Rs 2 lakh and we are expecting our damages to amount to Rs 1.25 lakh per day owing to the shutdown," said Rishikesh Chaphalkar, partner, City Pride, which has two multiplexes in Pune.
"There is a impact on our sales in Pune, but it is premature to say that it is due to swine flu. It could be that shoppers are waiting for a big sale that is starting from tomorrow,'' said Atul Takle, head of corporate communications at Pantaloon Retail, which runs Big Bazaar and Central in Pune. Big Bazaar is running its five-day Mahabachat sale from August 12.
Others declined to share numbers on ethical grounds. "It would be most inappropriate for us to comment on potential losses as public health comes first and we must all be supportive of attempts to safeguard it," said Alok Tandon, chief executive of Inox Leisure Ltd, which runs mutiplexes in Pune and Mumbai, among other cities.
Malls in Pune are also battling tough times. "The numbers have fallen a whopping 50 to 60 per cent,'' admitted Sanjay Kakade, owner of Kakade Centre Port and SGS Magnum mall in Pune.
“We have 12,000 to 15,000 people walking into our mall but the number has dropped to 2,000 to 3,000 . In stores such as Westside, which used to have sales figures of Rs 12 lakh to Rs 15 lakh a day, we have seen a 70 to 75 per cent dip in the daily sales. In Odyssey, the daily sales have shrunk to a fourth,” Kakkade said
E-Square Entertainment Etc, which has a chain of multiples, restaurants, hotels in Pune and Mumbai, is expecting huge losses across all businesses. Neerav Panchamia, vice president, Operations, E-Square Entertainment Etc, told Business Standard that the majority of its hotel room bookings have been cancelled owing to the flu scare and its multiplexes are also closed. “Altogether, we expect a loss of Rs 30 lakh to Rs 40 lakh,” Panchamia said.
Though Mumbai, the commercial capital has not been hit hard like Pune, mall owners are not taking chances. Oberoi Group’s Oberoi Mall in Goregaon is screening all shoppers with thermal scanners before they enter and the Runwal group, which runs R City mall in Ghatkoper and R Mall in Thane, is expected to do the same soon. The group has distributed masks and gloves to all its mall workers and security staff.
“There has been a drop in footfalls since Monday evening. Though it is very early to say anything we are gearing up to face any problem as a result of this,’’ said Sandeep Runwal, director of Runwal Group.
Also read: August 11: Swine flu death toll rises to seven