Kerala

Mall with all-women crew struggles to stay afloat

Entrepreneurs abandon space due to low patronage

A year after its launch, the Mahila Mall here, claimed to be Asia’s first mall with an all-women crew, is in a crisis as most of the 50-odd woman entrepreneurs who set up shops in the mall have abandoned it. From disgruntled shop owners to defective management, the mall has been in the limelight for all the wrong reasons since its launch in November 2018.

A venture of the Unity Group under the Kozhikode Corporation Kudumbashree Community Development Society (CDS), it had shops run by 75 entrepreneurs or groups in the beginning. The Micro Bazaar on the basement was the first casualty. Lack of patronage led to its closure within a few months.

Soon the exodus started. “The management failed to fulfil many of the promises given to us even six months after the launch. With little walk-ins, we struggled to make ends meet,” an entrepreneur said.

The top floor of the six-storey building is an auditorium while the two floors below were recently converted into a training centre and hostel for DDUGKY, managed by the Techno World IT group of Kudumbashree. The ground floor is fully occupied. Though the shops that remained on the third floor after the exodus have been shifted to the floors below, they are still mostly empty. Around 25 shops are still there.

Marketing issues

The main complaint is that the mall management did not take enough initiative to market the mall. “We did not even have a Christmas and New Year programme this year. This mall was like a cemetery when the rest of the city did good business during the season,” a boutique owner said.

Kudumbashree is yet to figure out a way to keep the mall afloat. “It is located on a one-way road. That could be a reason for the low patronage,” said Kudumbasree project officer T.K. Prakashan.

Huge rent

“The rent is huge. We cannot sustain it in the present manner for long. We may give up a few floors,” he said, adding the auditorium and the training centre were profitable. The initiative taken by the Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode, recently to overhaul the marketing model of the mall has not earned any successful results yet. While the authorities are yet to figure out the modus operandi to sustain the mall, the exodus continues.

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Printable version | Feb 22, 2020 7:00:59 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/mall-with-all-women-crew-struggles-to-stay-afloat/article30786021.ece

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