The COVID-19 crisis has led to the temporary closure of most shopping malls not only in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) but also globally amid the lockdown measures. With the situation easing and shopping centers beginning to reopen, the visitors’ number is likely to return to normalcy only in 2021. Hence, customers are becoming more inclined towards online shopping to avoid the virus contraction. In a bid to offset some of the lost sales during store closures, shopping malls are adopting innovative approaches to benefit from the growing popularity of the online channel, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
Vijay Bhupathiraju, Retail Analyst at GlobalData, says: “To highlight this trend, some of the leading shopping malls in Dubai, including the Mall of the Emirates and the Dubai Mall are transforming themselves into online fulfilment centres to facilitate the growing online orders. Shopping malls are also facilitating their tenants to launch virtual stores on popular online marketplaces to generate sales during the crisis. For instance, Emaar properties announced the opening of a new virtual store, Dubai Mall, on the e-commerce platform, noon.com.”
Several shopping mall owners revised their lease agreements to help their tenants deal with low revenues. To highlight, in India, Brigade Malls, Bengaluru, announced a 50 percent rental rebate for retailers from mid-March until the mall reopens. Similarly, Phoenix High Street Mall, Mumbai, is providing a flexible rental payment program, which allows retailers to pay rents for March-June together in the month of July.
Other mall owners and retailers are also devising revenue sharing agreements to deal with low footfalls, which otherwise burdens retailers with heavy rents during these testing times.