LAHORE: The decision to close stores in malls earlier, while allowing other businesses like restaurants, cinemas, take-out outlets, cafes to stay open until 11:30 a.m., saves little energy and causing huge losses to businesses, the latest data released by the major retail sector revealed on Monday.
According to data collected from different multi-purpose malls in Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad, Sialkot, Hyderabad and others, a maximum reduction of 10-15% in the energy consumption of these malls after the closure of retail stores s find there.
Data collected from the Chainstore Association of Pakistan (CAP) revealed that almost 30-40% of sales had fallen due to the early closure of stores. According to hourly customer footfall data, more than 25-30% of customers enter malls between 9:00 p.m. and midnight in branded stores. Branded store sales fell in the same report.
Hourly brand sales showed almost 20-30% sales in the last three hours of business for the various brands. However, these sales have now declined since the implementation of the government’s energy saving plan.
The data showed that the brands’ highest sales and footfall times are from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. During these hours, nearly 35% and more of sales and more than 33% of attendance are recorded.
The impact of the enforced one-day/weekly business closure is also hurting the retail sector, according to findings from CAP data, which showed Sunday sales fluctuated between 15-20% and footfall in different brands ranged from 12% to 20 percent. However, by keeping businesses closed on Sundays, this business is lost, which will also impact the public treasury.
Managers of well-known major malls in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad said people came to shop, eat in food courts and watch movies in mall cinemas. “The air conditioning of the stores is suspended after 9:00 p.m. but the mall cannot suspend it because lighting and air conditioning in the common areas were necessary due to the presence of customers. This measure reduced energy consumption by 10 up to 15%.
However, managers of shopping centers in Hyderabad and Sialkot (Tyre-II cities) pointed out that their electricity cost increased due to power cuts mainly during these hours (21:00-00:00).
“People rush into malls during load shedding hours and we are forced to keep the air-conditioning on through generators, which run on high-priced diesel,” they argued. CAP President Tariq Mehboob, speaking to The News, said the government would face a revenue loss of nearly 30-40% as a result of the policy. “The integrated retail sector is affected by this government decision, as almost 65% of restrictions are imposed on this sector,” Mehboob said. —