"When Fun Republic opened opposite Fame (the Shringar-owned mutliplex) in Andheri, my weekly profit after tax (PAT) came down to Rs 17 lakh from Rs 19 lakh in the first week. But Fun Republic's PAT for the first week was Rs 11 lakh. What interested me the most was not my decline in profits, but the overall increase in entertainment spending of Rs 9 lakh in the same week, on the same patch of road."
- Shravan Shroff, Shringar films speaking to Businessworld magazine in Dec 2003.
Wonder what Shroff has to say, now that one more retail wonder has come up on the same patch of road. A stone's throw from Fame is 'Infiniti', a swanky new mall-cum-multiplex housing a Westside, Food Bazaar, assorted 'brand' shops, food court and Cinemax theatres.
On a Saturday evening, Fame wore a deserted look as did the shopping complex attached to it. Infiniti was gleaming and comfortably crowd-free - no major footfalls happening here either. No waiting at any of the dozen restaurants dotting the area - from Only Parathas and Kailash Parbat to Little Italy and Ginger Marie.
Now it could be that the duds at the box office (Home Delivery, Mr ya Miss etc) are keeping junta away. Or they're taking a temporary breather in between Diwali and Xmas shopping.
But the bigger question is: how many malls and multiplexes does a single locality need. Or want? How many can it support??
It is estimated that 300 malls are 'under construction' around the country . Great - let Ludhiana and Coimbatore get malls. Let Mira Road and Belapur get malls. But let's use common sense and not add more malls per sq ft in certain areas than there are roads!
According to Chesterton Meghraj, over 40 million in India have same purchasing power as Americans. But Pricewaterhouse Coopers notes:
a. Majority of upcoming mall developments remain fragmented and sub-optimally planned
b. In near future there is likelihood of a shake-out within shopping mall business.
Aur phir kya hoga? Well maybe we can shift our schools and colleges to all those abandoned mall buildings! Or at least the coaching classes...