In some great news for the Indian luxury sector, the two Delhi uber-luxury malls DLF Emporio and Chankya opened last week. On June 16 Emporio reported 95 per cent of its stores operational. “Response from all our retail partners (LVMH, Kering, Reliance, Indian fashion designers) has been tremendous,” says Prashant Gaurav Gupta, Business Head, DLF Luxury Malls.
While Gupta refused to give us the details due to contractual constraints, he did admit that a win-win rental agreement has been worked out between brand partners and the malls. “We view the relationship with our retailers as a long-term relationship and completely understand their pain and what they have gone through in the lockdown,” says Gupta. “We have worked out a solution for the lockdown period and the coming days.”
To boost sales and footfalls, the malls’ retail partners have been reaching out to their old customers, sending them videos and showing them the collection through voice calls to help them shortlist the products and then invite them to the mall to touch and feel the product.
Buyers, however, are still cautious. After two-and-a-half month of lockdown, they are coming in for what Gupta calls ‘focused buying’ across jewellery, apparel, accessories and other categories. However, going by the trends in the West and China, Gupta predicts that things will normalise soon. “Other countries have reported recovery six months after starting the operations. We are positive that things will normalise soon here as well.”
In the meanwhile, several new sanitization and social-distancing measures have been implemented in the malls for the safety of the retailers, shoppers and malls’ staff members. “We have gone over and beyond all the guidelines by the health ministry and WHO,” says Gupta. They have installed a state-of-the-art thermal camera to minimize physical interaction. Every car has to drive through a car sanitization tunnel before entering the mall. No one is allowed in without temperature checks and Aarogya Setu app. It is also mandatory for all the visitors to wear a mask. “If somebody has forgotten his/her mask, we provide one and ensure that every one is always wearing a mask inside the mall,” says Gupta.
Markings in elevator and across the mall ensure safe distance between people. Automatic hand sanitizer dispensers are available at various touch points.
The employees of the mall wear masks and face shields all the time. The concierge desk is covered in glass and all the public areas are sanitized several times a day. At the mall’s food & beverage outlets, plates come in a sanitized butter paper bag along with disposable cutlery and napkins.