Irfan Razack, Chairman and Managing Director of Prestige Group sums up the year 2021. The year 2021 began on a great note and we all presumed with vaccines in place and the population getting vaccinated on a large scale very soon, we will go back to normalcy and continue with life as usual. However, all these thoughts vanished overnight, when in March’21 we were hit with the devastating second wave which brought in panic, fear and many of us lost close family members and friends. The mood was somber and stressful. It was all about keeping ourselves safe and finding hospital beds for those who needed them. It was also time for us to give back to society by ways of helping with equipment for hospitals, oxygen cylinders, and setting up spaces for quarantine. We had two months of lockdown in April’21 and May’21 and it was a period best forgotten. We at Prestige took positive actions by ensuring that all our employees and their families were vaccinated.
We also took steps to ensure the labor force of our contractors was vaccinated. This enabled a safe and healthy environment amongst the team members. Business picked up from July’21 onwards and we have been having a good run till December’21. We did some of our highest sales in Q2 and we will continue to do higher sales in Q3. Retail malls started trading, coming back to near-normal levels, office leasing picked up and people started returning to the office. Hospitality started trading 50% upwards of their 2019 levels. With the year coming to an end and the Omicron variant looming large, we should sincerely hope and pray that the imminent third wave is less intense and gives us all a big respite. Office leasing is seeing a boom, on the back of a large number of the workforce 'back to work' at offices and not necessarily working from home on all days has helped the cause, as has the ongoing IT and Software export demand along with a large number of SMEs growing with each passing day. We're hoping that this remains status quo and Omicron doesn't play spoilsport.
On the back of this demand, housing too has seen an upward tick and is a segment that's waiting to be capitalized on and has a huge potential to grow exponentially in some select cities and metros. Evolving nature of the pandemic, what with the new variants has taught us many valuable lessons in its wake, we've grown stronger owing to the same. We've realized a few truths albeit that much better, technology has risen in prominence. This pandemic has ensured that we all adapt and be adept at new technologies lest we fall back and it's become the 'new normal' of sorts, be it in operations, or how we've effectively used it to communicate with our stakeholders, technology has played a huge part and this will only increase going forward. It's also thrown light on how some things still haven't changed much though, for example how 'construction' remains an activity that's very much on-ground and labor-intensive. We must emerge better and stronger from these learnings. We must ensure safe and healthy practices and a balance between saving lives and protecting livelihoods. A lockdown for certain will hamper and impact timely deliveries. But let us try and stay positive and hopeful for better times.