In contrast to the high-decibel sales by ecommerce biggies in recent weeks, malls have adopted a low-key approach towards sustaining and / or increasing high sales volumes, especially in Delhi-NCR. Malls in the region have been holding frequent sales, mostly at the mall level (i.e. all brands in these malls participated in offering comparable discounts on inventory), and the average timeline of each sale is also longer than before.
Until a few years ago, there were only a few major sales across most malls during the monsoon / summer season, and around Diwali. Some malls or retailers would also organise end-of-season sales around Christmas and New Year. While ecommerce after-effects come to mind when one thinks of why such sales are happening so often, there could be completely different reasons for them.
Retailers have now started having sales on or during important festivals like Diwali, Dussehra, Gudi Padwa (in Mumbai), Christmas / New Year, Baisakhi, both the Navratris, Ganeshotsav, etc. Even high streets, the most popular one being Connaught Place in Delhi, organise such sales regularly. This approach definitely seems to attract footfalls and drive up sales volumes.
The churn of brands has increased in successful malls and resultantly, there is higher focus on profitability for both tenants and malls. That can probably explain why physical retail has been holding such sales frequently. With rising disposable incomes and changing demographics, the tendency to spend on shopping throughout the year has increased.
Another reason could be to attract value-conscious shoppers and deal-hunters. These shoppers will buy non-luxury items only when they see a discount or sale that they equate to value for their money. They do not wait for Diwali to make important purchases.
For example, in Delhi, the end-of-season sales in February-March and then in July saw good responses. Even in Mumbai, the monsoon sale across the city’s malls this year saw a superb response. Most malls offered high discounts at the mall level, and brands saw an increase in average ticket size of customers.
Malls spruce up their interiors during sales and around key calendar dates to connect with shoppers. With physical retail having natural advantages over ecommerce – such as providing instant gratification to shoppers and a ‘touch-and-feel’ experience, malls seem to be on the right track with their strategies of providing experiential shopping.
Authored By: Anuj Puri – Chairman & Country Head, JLL India
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