Shopping mall owners' revenue declined by around 50 per cent during the last fiscal as the retail sector was badly hit since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in March last year, according to real estate developers and consultants.
Average monthly rentals in shopping centres have softened by 4-5 per cent across eight cities, although many malls saw rent correction of up to 25 per cent, they said.
Most of the mall owners, which generally leases space in their shopping malls on a revenue-sharing model with retailers having a minimum guarantee clause, gave complete rental waiver during the April-June period of 2020 because of the nationwide lockdown to control COVID.
The mall promoters offered huge discounts during the remaining nine months of the last fiscal as well, resulting in a huge dent in their overall income.
"The effect of COVID on the retail sector has been well reported. The nearly six-month-long lockdown wreaked havoc on the retail segment.
"Fall in revenue for entire last financial year has been about 50 per cent and with the second wave, it will again be the same," Pacific group Executive Director Abhishek Bansal told PTI when asked about the impact in FY21 and the outlook for this fiscal.
When contacted, Harsh Bansal, the Director of Unity group that has several malls in the national capital, said there was a huge impact during the last fiscal and the total rental income was only about 40-50 per cent of the normal year.
He, however, said the rentals for the fresh leasing has not declined in its mall, although the company is offering some discounts for a limited period.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, average monthly rents in many malls fell by up to 25 per cent, Abhishek Bansal said and demanded that the authorities and banks should assist retailers and mall owners during this crisis.
Shubhranshu Pani, MD (retail services), JLL India, said the impact of rentals on shopping centres has been manifold.
For mall owners, he said the impact of COVID during the March 2020 to March 2021 period was around 50 per cent, mainly due to loss of rent, and operational costs.
Pani said multiplex contributes 15 per cent to the overall rental income of mall owners and this has been almost wiped out.
Pankaj Renjhen, COO & Joint MD, Anarock Retail, said developers would have definitely seen a fall in their overall revenue last fiscal year but it's difficult to quantify.
"Now, with the second wave coming in and malls being shut across most cities, there is no doubt that it will once again wreak havoc and severely impact the sector," he added.
Cushman & Wakefield said that mall rents on an average across the top eight cities have declined by about 4-5 per cent after the pandemic.
Average rentals in superior malls have witnessed marginal rental corrections, but the good and average malls witnessed rental corrections up to 7-10 per cent.
"Revenues of shopping mall owners fell by about 40-50 per cent during the last financial year. Rental negotiations/discounts/waivers amidst the second wave are likely to impact their revenues again this year," Cushman & Wakefield said.
Revenues of mall owners are expected to rise, given the low base in 2020, it added.
Harshvardhan Singh, Director - Commercial Advisory & Transactions - Retail, Savills India, said rents have reduced in the range of 15-25 per cent in many malls.
"Revenues on the other hand have taken a slightly higher hit," he said.
Mall owners have not just been impacted by concessions given to tenants in terms of rent reductions, but also by way of significant cuts in ancillary revenues from other sources such as pop-up stores, parking and signages, Singh said.
Weak consumer sentiment along with stringent lockdowns and restrictions in the wake of the pandemic have significantly slowed down mall businesses in India since March 2020, he noted.
Singh said malls were gradually getting back on their feet, with most showing an upward trend.
However, he said, the ongoing second wave of the pandemic has once again slammed brakes on the retail industry due to the intensity and severity of the current health crisis.