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Mumbai malls doubt utility of 24hr shopping facility

Friday - February 28, 2020 1:58 pm , Category : WTN SPECIAL

WTN- The Maharashtra government has aimed at bringing about a landmark change in societal trend by allowing malls and shops to open and trade all through the night in maximum city Mumbai. Perhaps no other city in the country was more suitable to start the experiment with. However, though on the face of it, the initiative seems a bold and progressive move in line with major cities of the world, there are several doubts that keep the enthusiasm muted, especially in the retailers and mall owners.

Many of them feel that the cost of operating their facilities all through the night would outsmart the profits from sales proceedings. They say, most people would still do their shopping in the traditional daytime slots and in the evenings, with only a few venturing out after 12 in the night to buy clothes or toys or having their food. This would mean all the extra cost of electricity and manpower the businesses engage for the night won’t be compensated by the poor late-night sales. That may be more a speculation than reality but the fear is not unfounded.

Indian cities including Mumbai are not 24x7 cities in the true sense like say New York or Tokyo. Just keeping the shops open won’t make them so either. It has a whole lot of socio-cultural system to do with before we can set up a night market. There has to be an ecosystem where the ancillary coordinates are in place like social safety at night, the kind of people’s professional engagements, availability of transportation, spare time at night etc. We don’t have a fashion high-street like mega cities of the world. Not many foreigners come here who would go out bingeing or shopping at night beyond a point of time.

We have small pockets where there is ample movement of people even in the night, like call centres, hospitals, stations or airports or pubs and clubs may be, but they are not enough to spike businesses in any big way as these pockets are few and far between and not sufficiently close-knit or connected to generate traffic and gel with the 24-hour city format. Most people still have to go to office at 9 in the morning and shopping late in the night would be a luxury that comes at the cost of health which they can’t afford.

Thus, the government’s motto may be novel and forward looking but it may be an action in haste to satiate the emotions of the people or to enhance employment, without the proper homework done to bolster the possibilities by supplementing it with other facilities. On the ground its success is highly doubtful given our general mindset and the logistic impediments. - Window To News