Unfazed by the controversy over offering of namaz, the grand Lulu Mall in Lucknow, which was recently inaugurated by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in the presence of defence minister Rajnath Singh, has become a crowd-puller.
Within the first 10 days of being inaugurated, the mall has seen more than 1 million visitors. The average footfall has been 1 lakh per day, which goes up to 2.5 lakh on weekends.
A video of some people offering namaz inside the mall went viral on Twitter, raising eyebrows of right-wing groups who objected. The police have registered a first information report (FIR). But visitors don’t care about the row. Rather, they are more interested in exploring the world-class mall which was brought to UP during the first investors’ summit in 2018 in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
As per reports, people from the adjoining states such as Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar and parts of NCR are coming to visit the structure, spread across 2.2 million sqft. It can house approximately 65,000 people at a time.
The Rs 2,000-crore project has generated 5,000 direct and 10,000 indirect job opportunities, as per the Lulu Mall authorities. This is the fifth mall of the Lulu Group in India, after its launches in Kochi, Thrissur, Bengaluru and Thiruvananthapuram. The chairman and managing director of Lulu Group, MA Yusuff Ali, has already announced an extensive expansion plan in all major cities in India, including Ahmedabad, Chennai, Hyderabad, and Delhi.
Not just commuters, e-rickshaw, cab and auto drivers, too, are getting good business on the route where Lulu Mall is located. Earlier, there were not many options of public transport on Shaheed Path, but dedicated bus services, auto, bike-taxi services have now begun. “We used to get passengers on this route, but not many. It’s good for business,” claimed Akhil, a bike-taxi rider who had just ferried a passenger from Old Lucknow to Lulu Mall.
Speaking exclusively to News18, Jayakumar Gangadharan, Regional Director, Lulu Mall, Lucknow, said, “The response has been good. So far, we are getting 1 lakh visitors daily. People coming here are happy, you can see smiles on their faces, be it kids, teenagers or the elderly. Everyone is getting their needs catered to under one roof with world-class infrastructure and facilities. People are happy clicking pictures, taking selfies with their loved ones. Coming to Lulu is a world-class experience.”
For the convenience of visitors, the mall has requested the State Transport Department to start a bus service on the route. Also, the entry road to the mall on Shaheed Path near Ansal Golf City has been widened to handle the influx of vehicles. Similarly, a ramp has been constructed near the underpass in front of adjoining Medanta Hospital to ease out traffic.
Dharmendra Singh, 29, teacher from Basti, hired a Bolero and came with his family of seven. “We came in the morning and will be going back in the evening. This place is a new experience for me and my family. We have also done some shopping from Lulu Hypermarket. It’s a nice place and should be kept away from any kind of controversy,” he said.
On the other hand, a sales executive with an international brand, on condition of anonymity, said, “There were a few controversies and issues which were uncalled for, however, people are not bothered by it. The business has been overwhelming and we expect the sales to pick up further,” he claimed.
THE YOGI PUSH
Gangadharan claims that realising such a big project worth Rs 2,000 crore would not have been possible without the support and help of the Yogi Government.
“We are really thankful to the Government of Uttar Pradesh for their all-round support. The UP CM has been very supportive on all fronts. We are happy to announce that soon our other outlets will be coming up in Varanasi, Gorakhpur and Prayagraj. People from the adjoining districts and even adjoining states are coming to visit our mall. Their response and smile is our reward,” he stated.
The mall has also vowed to support and promote local artisans under the ODOP scheme of the UP government. “The One District One Product (ODOP) scheme products are also a massive hit as people are loving it. So far, we have shipped one container of ODOP products to our stores in the Gulf countries. We have given a specific showcase to ODOP products to promote the local artisans and their splendid work,” said Gangadharan.
The mall will also have a blood donation camp along with a health check-up camp for its visitors soon in a tie-up with SGPGI Lucknow. The mall will be donating around 100 wheelchairs to SGPGI Lucknow.
Located at the Shaheed Path area of the state capital, the mall has its own multi-level car parking which can accommodate 3,000 vehicles. In this one-of-its-kind parking, priority has been given to the elderly, female and specially abled. The mall also houses a fleet of golf carts to cater to the needs of elderly.
The stores which are attracting a majority of the crowd are the Lulu Group’s flagship, Lulu Hypermarket, and the largest indoor family entertainment center, Funtura. Lulu Hypermarkets, Lulu Connect and Lulu Fashion Stores saw the maximum number of people enjoying various offers and discounts. Funtura’s carousels, mini coasters, drop towers, novelty games, VR-enabled adventure arena games, arcade video games, XD theatres, etc. have been the first choice of the kids.
Global Japanese lifewear brand UNIQLO recently opened its flagship store at the mall.
Actor Kriti Kharbanda inaugurated the Lucknow UNIQLO store. Decathlon, a single-stop shop for sporting goods, fitness equipment and sporting goods, has also launched its flagship store.
To cater to the diverse tastes of visitors, the mall has 15 fine dining restaurants and cafes, and a spacious food court with 25 brand outlets that can seat 1,600 people. It has a dedicated wedding shopping arena with some of the finest jewellery, fashion and premium watch brands in Lucknow. An 11-screen PVR Superplex will be launched later this year. It would include P[XL] and 4 DX screens, and premium LUXE auditoriums.
The Lulu Group is also coming up with shopping mall projects in Varanasi and Prayagraj, which it showcased during the ground-breaking ceremony held in Lucknow. Apart from retail projects, the Abu Dhabi-headquartered conglomerate has also announced a food processing hub that is under construction in Greater Noida with an investment of approximately Rs 500 crore.