How are malls chang­ing the re­tail land­scape of the East?

Images Retail - - COVER STORY -

Sanjeev Mehra:

Malls, as we un­der­stand, are the cul­mi­na­tion of food, non­food and re­tail com­bined with en­ter­tain­ment. Kolkata be­ing one of the old­est cities of the coun­try saw the Bri­tish make one of the iconic mar­kets known as Sir Stu­art Hogg Mar­ket – more pop­u­larly called New Mar­ket – which a mir­ror im­age of the Covent Gar­den Mar­ket in Lon­don with its cob­ble­stone walk­ways. Malls are not new to In­dia, es­pe­cially in the East, as un­der one roof you are able to get food, non-food, re­tail and en­ter­tain­ment.

The growth of cities in the east into suburbs has in­creased the de­mand that re­tail needs to be avail­able at the con­sumer’s doorstep.

Malls are a must for any de­vel­op­ing city and have now be­come cen­ters for leisure, en­ter­tain­ment and com­mu­nity build­ing. The Eastern part of the coun­try is show­ing con­fi­dence by build­ing malls in Guwa­hati, Silig­uri, Ranchi, Dhan­bad, Patna and Kolkata. The dy­nam­ics of re­tail es­pe­cially in the orig­i­nal mar­ket, the brands and the as­pi­ra­tion of the youth drive this gen­er­a­tion to cre­ate these cen­ters. This is show­ing very healthy con­sump­tion pat­terns and the re­tail­ers are driv­ing the de­vel­op­ers to make cen­ters for them. I be­lieve we are on a very healthy course for de­vel­op­ing fur­ther re­tail malls in the com­ing fu­ture.

Priyank Sing­ha­nia:

As we move into 2018, most Eastern cities of In­dia dis­play a glo­ri­ous up­ward trend in­clud­ing Kolkata, Raipur, Ranchi, Asan­sol, Silig­uri. Lux­ury buy­ing has trans­mo­gri­fied from an oc­ca­sional in­dul­gence into a ne­ces­sity and in­creas­ing con­sumer spend­ing power is aid­ing this meta­mor­pho­sis. The end re­sult – the Great In­dian Mid­dle Class has been el­e­vated to a higher level.

What was un­think­able in the Eastern re­gion a few years ago is be­com­ing a re­al­ity, and the credit goes to premium re­tail des­ti­na­tions malls, which have opened the lux­ury re­tail gate­way in the re­gion. It is be­cause of these premium des­ti­na­tions that cus­tomers be­long­ing to a di­verse mi­lieu are mak­ing a beeline for malls to look at, touch, feel, buy and then revel in the ex­pe­ri­ence of pos­sess­ing high-end in­ter­na­tional and na­tional prod­ucts. East is called the re­tail mar­ket of to­mor­row with all its po­ten­tial. The fac­tors that make these malls chang­ing the re­tail land­scape are bet­ter and pro­fes­sional mall man­age­ment, the pres­ence of in­ter­na­tional brands, and balanced floor plans.

Ari­jit Chat­ter­jee:

There is a wave of emerg­ing as­pi­ra­tional brands in East In­dia. The ap­proach is more in the Tier

I & II cities be­cause of the change in shop­ping trends. There are up­com­ing malls in cities like Bhubaneswar, Guwa­hati, Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Silig­uri etc. The ma­jor find­ing to the trend is the mid­dle class con­sumers who have been el­e­vated to a higher level. There is a rapid trans­for­ma­tion in eastern In­dia mar­ket – from a tra­di­tional cus­tomer base into a fash­ion con­scious, brand-savvy mar­ket. The young gen­er­a­tion is shop­ping and de­mand­ing both fash­ion and qual­ity along with value for money. To meet these ex­pec­ta­tion and de­mand of con­sumers – big and small, branded and un­branded,

re­gional, na­tional and even in­ter­na­tional brands are gear­ing up hugely, and very suc­cess­fully.

Amit Tekri­wal:

Eastern

In­dia’s as­pi­ra­tion wave and chang­ing shop­ping trends in the met­ros, Tier II and

III cities of the re­gion have driven the con­ven­tional stores to morph into more or­ga­nized, large-for­mat re­tail out­lets. And, to fa­cil­i­tate this growth of re­tail, many re­tail re­alty projects have sprung up in all ma­jor mar­kets of

East In­dia. Eastern states of In­dia now dis­play a glo­ri­ous up­ward trend. Lux­ury buy­ing has trans­formed from an oc­ca­sional in­dul­gence into ne­ces­sity and in­creas­ing con­sumer spend­ing power is aid­ing this meta­mor­pho­sis. It’s be­cause of such de­vel­op­ment of taste for fash­ion and brands cus­tomers are mak­ing a beeline for malls to look at, touch, feel, buy, and then revel in the ex­pe­ri­ence of pos­sess­ing high end in­ter­na­tional and na­tional prod­ucts.

Eastern In­dia is in the cusp of be­ing trans­formed from a tra­di­tional cus­tomer base into a fash­ion con­scious, brand-savvy mar­ket. Its young gen­er­a­tion is shop­ping and de­mand­ing both fash­ion and qual­ity along with value for money spent from re­tail­ers. The con­sumers’ am­bi­tions to reach global stan­dards in life­style, cou­pled with high dis­pos­able in­comes, are ag­gres­sively script­ing a rad­i­cal change in the busi­ness vi­a­bil­ity of or­gan­ised re­tail­ing East In­dia.

Shan­tanu Lahiri:

Though lit­tle late in the day, the pop­u­lace of Eastern In­dia has learnt to adapt them­selves to the chang­ing pur­chas­ing pat­tern. The re­tail, whole­sale and the dis­tri­bu­tion in­dus­tries are un­der­go­ing a pe­riod of trans­for­ma­tion with broader re­tail mar­ket at a growth of 5-6 per­cent an­nu­ally. There­fore, brands are search­ing for ways to in­crease their mar­ket share and hence prof­itabil­ity. Eastern In­dia is no dif­fer­ent to the change. One um­brella so­lu­tion and ex­pe­ri­ence has al­ways been the key dif­fer­en­tia­tor ex­pected by an ever-chang­ing mar­ket palate. Though dis­rup­tion is the new nor­mal, but re­tail­ers will al­ways harp on spa­ces to of­fer their prod­uct ex­pe­ri­ences to the prospec­tive con­sumer, ir­re­spec­tive of the brand. Malls have had their con­tri­bu­tion to the eco­nomic growth, ed­uca­tive pur­chas­ing be­hav­ior clubbed with en­ter­tain­ment un­der one um­brella.

Although there were malls present in the metro cities of Eastern In­dia a lit­tle over a decade now, how­ever, Ranchi, Jhark­hand’s cap­i­tal, wit­nessed its first mall in the form of JD Hi Street, which is lo­cated right on the city’s main road. The en­tire stretch of the main road is like a pro­nounced par­adise for all kinds of shop­pers. JD Hi Street had gauged this chang­ing trend al­most seven years ago and de­cided to come up with the so­lu­tion for Ranchi-ites as well as tourists in the shape of a mall. JD Hi Street has had the first mover’s ad­van­tage and were in­stru­men­tal in bring­ing in a mall cul­ture to Ranchi. As a re­sult, we have been able to rope in top brands in­clud­ing our an­chor store Re­liance, Car­ni­val Cin­e­mas, gam­ing zone amoeba and state-of-the-art culi­nary of­fer­ings on our fourth floor. We have been awarded many times for our ex­pe­ri­en­tial of­fer­ings es­pe­cially since we have ad­dressed the four cat­a­lysts: the econ­omy through af­ford­able prices and brands, en­abling tech­nolo­gies within the setup like Wi-fi en­abled Mall, plat­forms for en­ter­tain­ment across the mall, events for con­sumer en­gage­ment and en­ter­tain­ment. The goal of JD Hi Street is to have max­i­mum en­gage­ment and con­sumers within the mall to en­joy a great ex­pe­ri­ence and am­biance.

Bishnu Ku­mar Agar­wal:

Eastern In­dia is in the cusp of be­ing trans­formed from a tra­di­tional cus­tomer base into a fash­ion con­scious, brand­savvy mar­ket. It’s the younger gen­er­a­tion that is shop­ping and de­mand­ing both fash­ion and qual­ity along with value for money spent from the re­tail­ers. To meet these im­pos­si­ble de­mands re­tail­ers – big and small, branded and un­branded, re­gional, na­tional and even in­ter­na­tional – are gear­ing up huge and very suc­cess­fully. To cater to these con­sumers, re­tail­ers need to wake up to the im­por­tance of man­ag­ing re­tail­ing ef­fi­ciently and ef­fec­tively. Re­tail man­age­ment saves time and en­sures the cus­tomers eas­ily lo­cate their de­sired mer­chan­dise at the more or­gan­ised plat­form and re­turn home feel­ing sat­is­fied that they have re­ceived what they have paid for. The con­sumers’ am­bi­tions to reach global stan­dards in life­style, cou­pled with high dis­pos­able in­comes, are ag­gres­sively script­ing a rad­i­cal change in the busi­ness vi­a­bil­ity of or­gan­ised re­tail­ing East In­dia.

Sahil Sa­haria:

The con­sumers’ am­bi­tions to reach global stan­dards in life­style, cou­pled with high dis­pos­able in­comes, are ag­gres­sively bring­ing about a change in or­gan­ised re­tail­ing in East In­dia. Lux­ury buy­ing has in­creased man­i­fold due to in­creased con­sumer spend­ing power. What was un­think­able in the Eastern re­gion till a few years ago is be­com­ing a re­al­ity now, and the credit goes to premium re­tail like Quest which has brought brands like Bre­itling, Canali, Michael Kors, Burberry, Em­po­rio Ar­mani, Paul Smith, Su­per Dry, Hugo Boss and many more into the re­gion. South City Mall took a very bold step clos­ing down the mall for a year, in spite of be­ing one of the most suc­cess­ful malls in In­dia. They did so to take it up to the next level in terms of look and ex­pe­ri­ence and also for cre­at­ing spa­ces for brands like Zara, For­ever 21, Sephora, Star­bucks as well as a lot of other in­ter­na­tional brands which are to­tally new to Kolkata and Eastern In­dia.

Along with this, brands like H&M, and Hard Rock

Café – which re­cently opened on the high streets – have al­ready started to bring about a sig­nif­i­cant change in the re­tail sce­nario in the East. Other cities in the re­gion like Bhubanesh­war, Ranchi,

Patna, Asan­sol and Dur­ga­pur are also chang­ing in terms of cre­at­ing more or­gan­ised re­tail space in the form of malls to ac­com­mo­date the ris­ing de­mand. The malls are see­ing bet­ter foot­falls and con­ver­sions than ear­lier since the lo­cal pop­u­la­tion is as­pir­ing to reach bet­ter stan­dards of life­style due to in­creased dis­pos­able in­come. This is also lead­ing re­tail­ers tak­ing up mall spa­ces to ad­dress the shift of cus­tomers from tra­di­tional mar­ket­places to malls.

Su­nil Agrawal:

East has been a lit­tle slow in the mall de­vel­op­ment area but with ad­vent of good malls in Tier II cities of the re­gion is giv­ing a good com­pe­ti­tion to the other re­gions across In­dia. Best ex­am­ple is the mall de­vel­oped by us in Patna which is at­tract­ing most of the na­tional brands.

We are grow­ing steadily and are on the right track to de­velop more malls in the fu­ture.

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