Vashi's Raghuleela mall fails to attract shoppers

Owners of small businesses inside the once popular Raghuleela mall in Vashi say footfalls have drastically reduced and feel the mall may shut soon; say the lack of branded outlets is the reason why the mall fails to attract youth

Another mall in Vashi is facing rough times. After Center One and Inorbit, the Raghuleela mall, which completes the triumvirate of shopping malls near the railway station, has seen dwindling business. Shop owners inside the mall fear they may have to begin searching for a new location to do business.

Footfalls have gone south, owners say, which has made every day a fight for survival. Neetu Lalwani, who has two garment shops in the mall since it opened in 2007, said, “During its initial days, locals would throng the mall and business would be great.

Shop owners in the mall said many shops had shut down or were periodically replaced due to poor footfalls
Shop owners in the mall said many shops had shut down or were periodically replaced due to poor footfalls

Over the years, after bigger malls like Inorbit opened, people stopped coming here.” While Raghuleela opened in November 2007, Inorbit followed in late 2008. Lalwani further revealed that their turnover margin has drastically reduced. “Initially, we would easily manage to earn around Rs 3-4 lakh a month.

According to business owners, they have seen a reduction of more than 50 per cent in the turnovers, in the past four years. Pics/Suresh KK
According to business owners, they have seen a reduction of more than 50 per cent in the turnovers, in the past four years. Pics/Suresh KK

However, in the past four years, this figure has come down to thousands. We pay a rent of Rs 60,000 per month, but there are times when we are not even able to earn Rs 10,000 on a monthly basis,” she added.

There are over 150 small shops in Raghuleela mall, a majority of whose owners estimated that they’d seen more than a 50 per cent decrease in turnover. “Many of the shops are replaced or shut every few months. A block beside my shop has been replaced thrice in six months.

There was a time when our daily collection used to be more than Rs 20,000. Now, there are days when we get our first customer in the evening,” said Raju Shinde, a readymade garment shop owner. In such a situation, supporting staffers, and managing one’s own family is a difficult task.

Nothing to lure customers
Several owners pointed out that the mall lacked any branded or recreational outlets to attract the shopping-crazy youth. “Most youth come to a mall due to the presence of a multiplex in it.

Otherwise not many come for shopping here,” said Sunny Pawar, a salesman of a gift shop here. Owners felt that if the present levels of footfalls prevail, it would be difficult to sustain for a longer period.

Official speak
Officials at the mall’s management office, who asked not to be identified, agreed that business had indeed slowed down. They, however, claimed the mall would sustain itself and was not facing an uncertain future. Emails sent to the Wadhwa Group, the owners of the mall, received no response.

Mall trouble in Vashi

>> In November last year, the High Court deemed that the City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) had irregularly allotted a plot of 31,000 sq m of land in Vashi, on which the Inorbit mall and Four Points hotel have been built. The court has directed the developer to return the land within a period of six months.

>> Center One mall have already announced they would shut shop by March 2015

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