Things are finally shaping up for Bangalore, with the Centre unveiling its 24/7 plan retail therapy plan. This means that all public amusement establishments with a minimum of 10 employees, including restaurants, local markets, shopping malls and movie theatres will operate 24/7. The discretion of implementing this act however resides with the state government. These recent announcements, coupled with high private equity inflows into retail real estate, look very promising. The retail sector accounts for about 15 per cent of country’s GDP and this is expected to increases further with round-the-clock operations. The government announced reforms to loosen restrictions on inbound investments in retail a few days ago.
Vishal Mirchandani, CEO, Commercial and Retail of Brigade enterprises Ltd. which owns Orion mall at Brigade Gateway in Rajajinagar and Orion East in Banaswadi said, “It is heartening to see the government recognizing our sector as one the driving sectors for the economy. But here we need to see how many state governments will implement this. Bangalore is a vibrant leisure hub, but I’m not sure how many will like to shop here late at night. It some categories like restaurants, cinemas, etc. it may work.”
Experts believe that most commercial establishments in the city would welcome the move and easily be able to work out the logistics to make arrangements for a 24/7 module. Though the retailers may need some convincing, as a greater number of working hours would elevate their electricity bill, if they align, it won’t be a bad bargain. Experts also believe that the model would boost employment in the city and at the same time boost revenue, as the city is a major transit point for tourists and the model will attract them , adding to the revenue already generated by tourism.
Suresh Hari, Secretary, CREDAI, Bangalore said, “In the short term, the gain will be minimal. As the act becomes practical and implemented properly, more and more newer development will take place. Essentials will be best beneficiary apart from eateries.”
When asked if it would help employment, he said, “Certainly, and the earning with be much more than during regular hours.”
He added, “The model will kick start other activities. Many who cannot visit malls during day time due to work pressure will prefer accessing places during late hours. This will give more relief to traffic congestion. Office and work related activity will have much relief and will de-congest road. Better infrastructure usage and deployment of excess installed infrastructure will be the order. In fact it will open up a newer business models.”
Vyshak Simha, Marketing Manager, IDE Consulting Services said, “Once the 24/7 model is implemented, offline retailers operating in those states will stand to benefit hugely as the act puts them on a level playing field with online retailers who operate round the clock. This will also intensify competition between physical and virtual players, but benefit consumers and the labour workforce.”
He added, “The act will definitely increase employment in all sectors. More workers would be needed to manage the outlets and perform night shifts. It is a welcome move for the city because already a major chunk of its population works around the clock and this step will help them plan their leisure better. It might also reduce the traffic burden on weekdays. As per employment, if employers incentivize employees working evening shifts, it will be a great success.”
Regarding issues of security needed to be taken up by malls, he said, “This is absolutely important and a clear necessity. Cost addition is certain, but the benefit of such operation will override the cost issue.”
Currently, the first day first show is traditionally around 10.30 am in cinemas. However, at some single screen cinemas, big films get unofficial midnight releases. With the centre proposing 24/7 shows, the audience feels the new releases can be launched in a midnight show.