It doesn’t always pay to be pricey(off beat)
THE GLITZY shopping mall CrossRoads, aamchi Mumbai’s answer to New York’s Bloomingdale, is learning the hard way that acting pricey does not pay.
So, the management has “put on hold” the scheme introduced in August to keep out the “riff-raff”. Only well-heeled denizens equipped with cellphone, club membership, credit card, student ID card or frequent flyer card were allowed in.
For lesser mortals, the management decided on restricted entry. The “have nots” were asked to buy Rs 60 “redemption coupon”, which could be redeemed at any shop after purchase.
Barely four months down the line, it is time for reality check. The crowds have fallen and so have the sales. Crowds were accounted for by “footfalls” (keeping tab of every individual, who steps in the mall). From an all-time-high of 1,25, 000 footfalls per day, the figure now stands between 6 and 12,000.
“I had always been against the scheme. In fact, I put a banner outside my shop saying no entry fees. The management made me remove the banner. The scheme was put on hold before Diwali. But Diwali has come and gone. The scheme is still on hold,” says Kishore Biyani, Managing Director of Pantaloons, which has an outlet at the Crossroads.
The Hallmark gallery manager, Shirish Jain, could not agree more. “It is humiliating for any customer to show his credit card or his mobile to gain entry. Why should a customer, who wants to buy two cards deposit Rs 60, which the management says is redeemable?”
The managing director of And India (a designer garment outlet), Mukesh Sawlani, said the concept did not help. “The management’s idea was to keep the window shoppers out and bring the shoppers in. Instead because of the adverse publicity crowds kept out. And as for attracting the crÃ¨me de la crÃ¨me, they go to Far East and Europe to shop. Why should they come to Crossroads?”
The management, however, believes the move was right. “See, we had a motive to keep the riff-raff out. We have achieved that. Yes, the footfalls have fallen but then we are getting quality crowd,” says Sanjay Muzumdar, vice-president, Sales.
So has the scheme been scrapped? “We have not made up our mind. The scheme was kept in abeyance due to Diwali and festive season, “says Mazumdar. “See, we had carnivals after Diwali and now it is Christmas season. Se we are not re-imposing it,” he said.
To be fair, besides the scheme, the two other factors which have robbed Crossroad of Mumbai’s Harrods status was the novelty factor and the decision of upmarket stores like Benzer and Amarsons to get their act together.