Standing up to Nasrallah: It will be a while before northern residents are back to their regular shopping habits, Haifa Mall Director Yisrael Wiesel told Ynet, as the shopping center resumed regular operations this week for the first time since the war's outbreak.
"We're currently looking into the financial damages but there's no doubt the process of minimizing losses will take a long time," he said. " Northern residents who left their homes spent plenty of money on accommodations at hotels…and likely spent money shopping at central Israel malls, so they will not be quick to return and purchase, even though we reopened the Haifa Mall."
According to Wiesel, average revenues at the mall stand at roughly USD 500,000 a day during regular times.
"We invested NIS 1.5 million (roughly USD 350,000) in summer activities…we were at the beginning of reaping the rewards of the summer activity, which was supposed to boost our daily revenues by dozens of percents," he said. "All this went to waste and those are damages that are hard to estimate at this time. At the same time, it would have been easy to just close the mall completely because it's not profitable to open stores when there are no crowds, but we decided to keep it open."
In recent days Haifa has shown signs of recovery with some residents choosing to leave their homes and bomb shelters. Since the outbreak of hostilities, the mall featured limited activity mostly confined to attractions for children and coffee shops.
Wiesel stressed the importance of boosting residents' morale even during wartime and showing a return to normalcy, which he says is the reason he decided to resume regular operations.
"On Monday we already had thousands of visitors at the mall," he said."