City decked up with bright lights, glittery stars twinkling on every passing street, jingle bells outside every retail store and Christmas treats in almost every corner of the city. The celebratory season is right round the corner and people from all corners of the country are indulging in the festival spree. With just few days to go, the city malls have turned into a major Christmas and New Year destinations with all of them set to offer their customers with an extra dose of excitement through different events, activities, décor, offers and what not. Christmas fascinates all of us in myriad ways. We love the food, we love the decoration and we just love buying presents and celebrating with friends and family. Since Christmas this year has also brought with it the immense happiness of a long weekend holiday, many are heading out for vacations, while other stayed back to indulge in shopping or just visiting the malls with their family members. Shopping complexes in the city, adorned with Christmas elaborate decorations, is increasingly becoming mega-destinations for people, who get a perfect ‘selfie moment’ posing with the extravagant decorations.
Themes For The Season
Holiday decorations for malls have become a vital part and are just as much a time consuming task. With so many different options available, the task of selecting a décor program can easily overwhelm anyone. And so, malls these days have started going according to particular themes in order to save themselves from going all over the place. Salim Roopani, Centre Director, Pacific Mall (Tagore Garden), says, “This year, we have come up with a unique theme to celebrate Christmas and welcome the New Year. We have already decorated the atrium with Christmas tree, Santa giving gifts and toys. The entire décor, conceptualized by PPZ which is the international mall management company, is giving a feel of New York in the mall.” While greens and reds are the central theme every year for most of the decorations, High Street Phoenix Mall is going the untraditional way this year with white and champagne red. Rajendra Kalkar, President (West), The Phoenix Mills Ltd., informs, “The frosty theme is a reminiscent of the icy winter days. The tree at Palladium stands 8.5 feet tall and is an elegant turquoise shade that adds to the classy and sophisticated ambience inside the atrium. We also have the Bauble tree installation at North Skyzone and the frosty bottles installations at Grand West Zone.” While Korum Mall has lined up a mix of awe- inspiring activities with various shopping delights, amazing gifts, surprises and enchanting décor to bring in the Christmas spirit. The mall spokesperson asserts, “The theme this year is Santa Land where we bring alive the home of Santa Claus in white colour. Our own in-house team has conceptualized the décor and all the décor elements like The Castle, Atrium hangings, Façade elements, are all designed in white. This festive season, entire mall will be decked up with a larger than life size Christmas tree, exclusive Santa land setup, colourful and elegant décor with glimmering lights in the mall and on the service road adjoining to the mall.” Christmas is also a festival of sharing and gifting and getting together and keeping in line with the same, Inorbit Mall’s central theme is ‘gifting’. Naviin Ibhrampurkar, Head of Marketing & Corporate Communication, Inorbit Malls (India) Pvt Ltd., elaborates, “The idea is to welcome shoppers to our mall and give them surprises. Right from giant entrance arches to drop down elements like stockings and stars and special workshops, carol singing and meet and greet with toon characters and Santa Claus are the highlights this Christmas.” While many opt for in-house designing team for the purpose, Phoenix United Mall prepared the concept in-house and passed it on to the outsource agency to create options from where the best option was executed.
All Set For The Starry Affair
India and majority of western countries is all about bling and the city malls and markets are all covered in glittering decorations and glowing bulbs. It would not be wrong to say that the twinkle of Christmas lights in shopping malls have given an instant makeover to them. While mall owners go out of their way to make their malls look the most enticing one, they also do not refrain from organizing various activities in order to keep the customers engaged and excited. Sanjeev Sarin, General Manager, Phoenix United Mall, says, “The mall is well prepared for the upcoming holidays, by offering a perfect mix for every age group; it will house a handloom flea, Christmas parade and giant hot wheels activity among the other activities at the centre. The wreath tree displayed at the centre of the Atrium, connected through large size rings with Christmas tree foliage and crystals all around, which is 40ft. long and one of its kind initiative will catch many eyeballs.” While the High Street Phoenix Mall has a ‘Christmas Parade’ on 25th December that will be led by Santa Claus, followed by toy soldiers, elves, fairies, the musical band and some very fun mascots around the mall between 5:00 pm to 6:30 pm. “We also have the Wish Circle where High Street Phoenix plays the role of a Santa. We create a set of carefully curated and highly-desirable gifts from select in-house brands, the pictures of which have been posted on social media along with some information. As a customer, one needs to make a wish and comment on why they would like that particular product this Christmas. The most deserving one will receive that product as a gift. One can also go to the mall, place #HSPWishCircle tags on their favourite products and brands shortlisted by the mall. Customers will have to find these products in the store and take selfies tagging High Street Phoenix and the brand they are wishing for,” elaborates Rajendra Kalkar.
Inorbit Mall, on the other hand, has planned an extravagant 10 day Christmas celebration for its shoppers. Naviin Ibhrampurkar asserts, “The excitement doubles with a plethora of activities and workshops around art, craft and puzzle games. Patrons can indulge in these activities and stand a chance to win attractive gifts and shopping vouchers. The shoppers will also be gratified with gifts, shopping vouchers and Christmas cookies. Inorbit has a larger than life giant stocking placed at the center of the atrium which will be called the ‘surprise gift zone’. Shoppers have to enter this zone to win a surprise and there are assured surprises for everyone. Another zone is the ‘sweet gift zone’ where a chocolate elf will be making chocolates and distributing them to kids. Last but not the least, we also have an igloo with a snowman which also is an experience zone and a photo point for shoppers visiting us.” While major celebrations have already kickstarted at Pacific Mall with outstanding performances like Shooting Star and CYR Wheel act by international artists that took place on the first weekend of the month. Other than these activities, the mall also hosted a 3-days Christmas Carnival “Pacific Late Nights” for the customers from December 15-17 which treated customers with the lip smacking food, live band entertainment and chic fashion shopping options. Salim Roopani maintains, “The décor at the mall is unique as always and this time we have installed a replica of Statue of Liberty inside the main atrium which is 45 feet taller and 9 feet at the bottom and the weight of the same is 1,000 kg. The décor has become very popular with the customers and especially children who are getting fascinated with the feel of visiting New York in Delhi.” Also, in line with the out-of-the-box decorations, Korum Mall has placed a White Castle full of gifts, and also a larger than life oversized Christmas tree beautifully lit up at the mall atrium.
Jingling All The Way
No party or no festival is complete without music and India is known for its love for music. While High Street Phoenix Mall has a music property Awestrung where music artists and bands perform at the festival square on every last Friday of the month, this month for the Christmas celebrations, the mall is hosting two music bands – Parvaaz and Parekh & Singh on 22nd December 2017. “Inorbit Mall in Hyderabad is hosting an open air movie screening this month, where shoppers can enjoy classic movies sitting in an open arena under the moon and stars. There are other acts like standup comedy performance, carol singing etc.,” informs Naviin Ibhrampurkar. Korum Mall, however, have been organizing various musical shows and karaoke nights.
Santa’s Little Treats
And, what’s Christmas without the much awaited Santa’s little treats, or rather, the treats from our favourite shopping malls. Christmas and New Year is the time when all the fashion and lifestyle brands are offering irresistible offers and discounts. Also, offering international holidays is quite trending among shopping malls and is also a hit among consumers. “We are running the Shop & Win Campaign from 15th December 2017 to 28th January 2018. Anyone who shops for Rs. 5,000 from stores in High Street Phoenix and Palladium can get lucky to win a BMW X1! We also have other bumper prizes such as international holiday, domestic holiday packages and other gift vouchers available at High Street Phoenix and Palladium. Apart from this, we are also promoting the kids category in our mall from 15th to 25th December 2017. Shop for Rs.3,500 from any of the participating brands in the promotion (Mothercare, The Children’s Place, Hamleys, UCB Kids, Pepe Kids, Adidas Kids, Tommy Hilfiger Kids, US Polo Assn. Kids, Les Petits, Claires)and get an Orama World Card worth Rs.300,” asserts Rajendra Kalkar. While at Inorbit Mall, brands are going on an early EOSS this year; Korum Mall will gift one lucky couple a trip to Budapest during the Christmas festive season. Pacific Mall is also giving its customers a chance to win international holidays. “Customers can shop for Rs.15,000 or above from anywhere in the mall between 3rd Dec 2017 to 31st Dec 2017 and stand a chance to win the bumper prize of international holiday for a couple and they also stand a chance to win gift vouchers worth Rs.50,000 every weekend of the month,” informs Salim Roopani. Phoenix United Mall will also be running a special Shop N Win Festival at the mall.
For The Better Of Society
Apart from fun, frolic and all the glitterati, Christmas also calls for caring and serving others. Rajendra Kalkar informs, “We are currently hosting the ‘Digital Kitchen’ campaign between 29th November to 31st December, an online game that lets you donate towards serving fresh and hot cooked meals for underprivileged children at the Smile Foundation. Choose from 4 different and simple recipes to cook digitally with the help of the user friendly kitchen assistant to stir up a quick meal. For every meal you cook virtually, High Street Phoenix will ensure that a child gets a freshly hot meal.” Inorbit mall hosts “The Tree of Smiles” campaign across its 5 locations. With this campaign, Inorbit gives its shoppers an opportunity to play Santa for underprivileged kids. Through this campaign, patrons can buy gifts like stationery, toys etc. and drop it in the giant stocking set up at the mall. Once the collection drive is over, the gifts are handed over to an NGO. Similarly, Pacific Mall takes the initiative to distribute free food to around 500 people in the nearby slums on the morning of 1st January. Meanwhile, Phoenix United Mall is tying up with NGOs at the city and will be showing the kids, latest movie at the cinema theatre and will give away goody bags from Santa.
Overall Investment: What It Takes
Of course Christmas is about giving and decorations and celebrations, but what exactly goes into these decorations and how are these helping shopping malls in gaining more footfall? Rajendra Kalkar from The Phoenix Mills Ltd., says, “We strive to bring the best visual experience during Christmas and New Year by adding décor elements across the various zones. It’s not just the mall décor but also the retail stores that showcase interesting visual merchandizing that blend in with the festivities.” For Inorbit Mall, the “investment varies anywhere between Rs.15- 20 lakhs per mall” which involves media spends, décor, on ground activations, manpower, special acts and giveaways to customers. For Korum Mall as well, the investment that goes into the overall Christmas celebration is “around a seven digit figure sum”.
Also, while demonetization and the implementation of GST had many adverse effects on retail market of India, Salim Roopani feels, “No doubt, demonetization did impact sales initially but then that was very short lived and our footfall was not affected, but it has only increased steadily. There has been a substantial growth over last year in all aspects and we look at creating a new benchmark in business again this New Year. In December, when the festivities hit the peak with Christmas and New Year and the winters at its peak, apparel retailing is at its best when people indulge in impulse buying. While others too voiced the same opinion, it would be interesting to see how Christmas and New Year brought in more or lesser sales this year. Till then, Merry Christmas and Have a Lovely New Year