GST effect: Mumbai goes mall-hopping at midnight to avail discounts
The GST had an immediate effect on Mumbaikars as stores across city offer huge discounts for two hours from Friday midnight; bars, restaurants allow customers to enjoy last pre-GST meal
Electronic stores at Mulund saw significant rise in footfalls over the past week as shoppers thronged to make the most of the 50 per cent discount offered. Sales, too, recorded a jump of 25-40 per cent. Pic/Sameer Markande
As the clock struck 12 on Friday night, Mumbaikars thronged malls and stores across the city offering 'Mahurat Shopping' to customers until 2 am. In these two hours, people could buy the usual household items at discounts that fluctuated depending on the products bought.
At Infinity Mall in Andheri (W), there were serpentine queues as people stocked up on everything from toothpaste to cereal, all of which were taxed under the new GST slabs. "Most of the products sold were general household items," said a manager at the mall. "There were long queues because we were allowing only one customer at a time at the sales counters." He said there was also an offer of Rs 300 off on a bill of Rs 1,000.
People thronged a mall at Vashi at midnight on Friday after it offered huge discounts at its stores until 2am under 'GST Mahurat Shopping'. Pic/Sneha Kharabe
Tipplers on Friday night were wondering about whether pubs and restaurants would shut early, or whether they would bill customers according to the new GST tax slabs post midnight. It turns out that most outlets let their rates remain unchanged, stating that the revised prices would kick in from Saturday. A manager at the Versova Social said their systems were updated only after 4 am to reflect the revised prices. "We billed normally till 1.30 am," he said. Doolally Taproom outlets across the city kept their prices unchanged, as their prices are all inclusive anyway.
GST reflected on a food bill at a restaurant
However, some places had a different approach. 'MRP' in Andheri conducted all their billing activities before midnight, even though customers were allowed to remain at the place up to closing time. "We shut at the normal time but everything was billed before midnight," said Sachin, a manager at the establishment. Eddie's in Bandra followed the same approach, but allowed only cash payments after midnight.
On Saturday morning, some food establishments such as Theobroma's Lokhandwala outlet, offered customers a 5 per cent discount on purchases, and then added GST to their bill. "We are doing this because we don't want customers to feel like we have increased our prices," said the person behind the counter at Theo's.
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