Hotel retailers struggle to stay afloat amid rising COVID-19 cases
“The situation is bad. All the retailers are asking us for rent waivers. A lot of stores in five star hotels will shut down for good. They will not be able to sustain,” said the head of a leading Indian hotel chain. Nandivardhan Jain, CEO of hospitality advisory firm Noesis Capital Advisors said typically, hotels in the luxury and upper-upscale segment house retail outlets. “Even as the markets open up after one quarter or more time, things look gloomy. Either they will renegotiate or exit. This is happening in malls as well,” he said.
A jewelry retailer who has a store at a luxury hotel in Mumbai said he has not opened his store despite the state allowing hotels to resume operations. “There is no regular footfall. We deal with quite a few international travellers. Unless international travel resumes and hotels start getting regular guests, we don’t see the point of opening our store,” he said. “There are restrictions on 33% capacity. The hotels have doctors and repatriates staying. Who do we sell to? We are not expecting them to come and shop. It all depends on when hotels are allowed to operate fully,” he added.
In a response to ET’s queries, Gucci said it has a store at The Trident in Mumbai but would not be able to comment further on other queries. Louis Vuitton said it has a store at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai which is currently operational but it does not have a local spokesperson to comment further. Ankur Bhatia, executive director of Bird Group which owns and operates Roseate Hotels and Resorts said traditional retail for hotels may not have a future. “Survival could be a challenge. Some standalone store brands could look at exits.”