Malls, multiplexes multiply Christmas business in city

Karan Parkhe has been in the decorations business for the past 15 years but it is only over the past two years that he has seen a considerable increase Christmas orders.

Parkhe, who owns the Lilac Flower Boutique, attributes it to the rise in malls and multiplexes in the recent years. "In the last few years, a large number of malls and multiplexes have come up. Decorations at these venues are done on a large scale. Besides, only medium and big shops used to have a Christmas tree inside or outside their stores earlier but these days, every second outlet has a Christmas tree, big or small," adds Parkhe, who also offers decoration work for Diwali and weddings.

Like Parkhe, Christmas has stimulated growth of many others associated with the commercial side of the festival.

The charges for Christmas decorations range from Rs 5,000 to Rs 2 lakh, depending on size of the the Christmas tree and the decorations. For Pandurang Shyamrao Patil, owner of Akash Decorators, the past few weeks has been very hectic as he was loaded with work and struggled to meet deadlines.

"I have a team of 12 workers. We divided into four groups and catered to customers who wanted Christmas decorations," says Patil, adding that most of his clients are either restaurants, shops, malls or multiplexes, and not individuals. There is a competition among stores to have the best decoration.

"The clients are very competitive and want their premises to look better than other stores during the festive season," adds Patil.

Sanjay Pawar, owner of Kimaya Creations, who has been operating in Pune since 2003 says that earlier he used to cater to only very big shops but now the demand for Christmas decoration has increased.

Most families, he says, prefer to decorate on their own, but malls, multiplexes and shops outsource the decoration work. "The orders start coming in around 15 days prior to the Christmas. I cater to at least two to three customers a day. On an average, it takes about two hours to decorate the tree, which varies depending upon size of the tree and other decoration work," adds Pawar, adding that there hasn't been any significant change in the trend of decorative items like garlands, balls, stockings, bells, stars, gift boxes and candies around the tree.

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