COVID-19 has left the businesses in despair, especially the retail industry. Retailers have been struggling hard since day one of shutting down their operations. After appealing for rental waivers and revenue sharing models to the malls, they have now reached a saturation point and are left with no viable option.  

Forced by the current scenario, the retailers have threatened the mall owners to permanently walk away from their malls if no action is taken in their favor. “We cannot survive without collaboration,” Rakesh Biyani, MD of Future Retail told TOI. “If not, there will be further job losses in the sector.”

The pandemic has had the worst effect on the retailers of India, who now are considering shifting to the street markets as they offer relatively low cost of operation. Retailers, who are now preparing to reopen their stores are already fearing low demand from the consumer’s side and the little support that they are getting from their landlords is all the more discouraging. 

The ultimatum has been issued to malls such as DLF, Ambience, Nexus, Pacific, Phoenix Group, Oberoi, and Mantri. “…in the absence of the above-mentioned arrangement, it will be unviable and impossible for any of us to resume operations in your mall,” read the letter that was rolled out on Friday said.

“We can’t open until we have a clear deal. This is an ultimatum of a sort. So far, only Forum Mall in Bengaluru has given some rent relief. Most large malls have remained non-committal,” said one of the committee members of the group that has penned the communication to these malls.

Retailers are already under deep stress as pulling customers to shop in physical stores seems like a “herculean task” these days. As the trend of conscious buying increases, fashion apparel and accessories are gradually finding their way out from the customer’s priority list. 

“Retailers and brands have to additionally deal with massive accumulation of inventories, unprecedented disruption in manufacturing and supply chain, and the huge shift of customers to e-commerce, among other things,” the letter said.


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