Shoppers avoiding malls even 3 mths after quake

- SUMAN BASHYAL, Kathmandu
Shoppers avoiding malls even 3 mths after quake

Jul 30, 2015-

Shopping malls in the Kathmandu Valley that sustained cracks due to the April 25 Great Quake reopened last month after repairs, but business has not rebounded as people still fear to enter them.

Traders said that sales were at 30-40 percent of previous levels even though three months had passed since the dreadful event. The owners of most of the malls have waived rental charges for one-two months as they were closed due to the damage and frequent aftershocks.

The shopping centres have launched various promotional activities in a bid to boost footfall, and many merchants have unveiled discount offers on purchase of various products. Multiplexes are also offering discounts and schemes to attract customers.

“Although multiplexes have started doing good business due to the release of some big movies, business in the other sectors has plunged around 35 percent. It seems consumers still fear to enter the malls,” said Bijay Manandhar, president of the Civil Mall Trade Association. Civil Mall’s glass walls, tiles and escalator were damaged by the tremor. It reopened last month after repairs.

“Before the earthquake, daily sales came to Rs60,000 to Rs65,000; but these days, it is hard to sell Rs30,000 worth of clothes,” said Nishi Sharma, manager of Monte Carlo showroom at the same mall.

The showroom has announced a summer sale with discounts of up to 25 percent on various clothes as it has to bring new stock for the festive season. She complained that the mall management cancelled the rent for only one month even though it was closed for two months. Meanwhile, CTC Mall at Sundhara which also suffered damage during the earthquake is not fully operational even though some shops on the ground floor and the cinema hall are running. Around 30 mobile shops that had opened just before the disaster have been severely hit. They are planning to shift to other locations.

“As we don’t see an environment to do business at the mall, we are shifting to Lalitpur Central Mall,” said Purushottam Basnet, one of the merchants.

Gyan Deep Sinha, general manager of City Centre at Kamal Pokhari, said that business during the weekends had returned to previous levels. “Cinema halls, food court, Big Mart and other shops are doing well during the weekend, and we are hoping that business will rebound during the week days too,” he said, adding that they were conducting promotional activities to attract footfall. The mall management has cancelled the rent for two months.

Likewise, Ramesh Kakshapati, manager of KL Tower, said that business at the mall was down 20-25 percent, but the crowds at the movie theatre were at previous levels.

Published: 31-07-2015 08:33

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