By Sanjay Jog
Over 52% of the malls in Mumbai are vacant partly due to economic slowdown, poor designing, lack of robust revenue generation model and located in unattracted location, reveals the Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) recent survey.
As per ASSOCHAM estimates, the total rate of vacancy in malls in Delhi-NCR is 55%, while in Mumbai it is 52% followed by Ahemdabad (51%), Chennai (50%), Hyderabad (48%), Bangalore (45%). The position in the nearby town of these locations is much disturbing.
ASSOCHAM conducted a random survey of all the shopping malls in Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ahemdabad, Pune, Dehradun, Chennai etc between October and December 2012. The survey found that many upcoming malls have significantly been delayed and withdrawn due to lukewarm response from retailers. They will also face manifold hike in construction cost.
Commenting on the malls scenario, ASSOHAM Secretary General DS Rawat said that vacancy levels are due to poor location, poor design and poor parking facilities while some are operating at 60% occupancy others are struggling at less than 20% occupancy. The occupiers are finding difficult to manage economically.
The survey also highlighted some of the challenges the industry is facing, which include inadequate infrastructure, unavailability of retail space, multiple taxes, lack of clarity in policies and shortage of experts in areas such as supply chain and store management. Now, they are shifting from lease/rentals models to revenue sharing models and this is encouraging large number of branding showrooms to open shops in malls.
"Biggest shopping mall can feel like a pretty lonely place, majority of retailers said that they are holding back on new store openings and focusing on existing stores", adds the survey.
The sharpest decline in mall rental values are also recorded high in Delhi-NCR by 60%, while Mumbai also dropped by 58% in rentals followed by Ahemdabad (55%), Chennai (54%), Hyderabad (52%), Bangalore (49%), Kolkata (45%), Pune (42%) and Dehradun (40%), points the ASSOCHAM survey.
Nearly 82% of the retailers said that they are shutting down some of stores in areas where rentals are too high, and with the slowdown in consumption complicating things further, point out the survey.
Nationally, the vacant rates of shopping malls are 55% and will likely rise to 70% by 2015, according to the ASSOCHM analysis. More than 90 percent of shopping in India is still done at unorganised one-off shops, adds the survey.
Sunil Kumar Dhaiya, Co-Chairperson of ASSOCHAM Real Estate committee said that the real estate prices and construction costs are rising but the retail business is not growing enough to absorb this. There are just not enough footfalls.
Retail rents are down 60-65% from peaks in 2010 and that's especially painful for developers, when servicing loans is expensive at 12-13 percent interest," said Rawat.