Images Retail - - COVER STORY -

How are malls chang­ing the re­tail land­scape of the east?

Pu­ru­raj Dutt: Malls are the lat­est trends in the east and are emerg­ing as hubs for com­mu­nity gath­er­ings, shop­ping to­gether and have a plethora of din­ing out op­tions. We are con­fi­dent that our mall Genexx Square will be­come a melt­ing pot for all com­mu­ni­ties, be­cause of its catch­ment.

What ac­cord­ing to you are the main chal­lenges mall de­vel­op­ers face when pen­e­trat­ing smaller towns?

Pu­ru­raj Dutt: The ma­jor chal­lenge in a small town is de­ter­min­ing the right mix of brands which will cater to its pop­u­la­tion, many of whom are as­pir­ing for a metro city life.

Su­nil Agrawal: As the small town mar­ket is quite un­ex­plored, I feel that in­ter­na­tional brands are not very keen to en­ter them. Sec­ondly, even the re­sponse of the con­sumers in these Tier II & III cities is highly un­pre­dictable for any new or up­com­ing mall. The ma­jor­ity of the con­sumers are not ready to ex­plore and change their taste of shop­ping all of a sud­den.

Ma­jor chal­lenges of do­ing busi­ness in East In­dia and gov­ern­ment in­ter­ven­tion that could ease these dif­fi­cul­ties?

Pu­ru­raj Dutt: One ma­jor chal­lenge is to get sanc­tions early. Mul­ti­ple sanc­tions are re­quired to set up a mall, and we feel that it would be more fruit­ful for us if the gov­ern­ment could set up a sin­gle win­dow which would co­or­di­nate be­tween statu­tory bod­ies to ease the sanc­tion pro­ce­dure.

Su­nil Agrawal: Surely gov­ern­ment in­ter­ven­tion can ease the task to a greater ex­tent. State gov­ern­ments have been do­ing a lot for the re­tail sec­tor in this re­gion. Speedy ap­provals and clear­ances from the gov­ern­ment are very essen­tial in

com­plet­ing the projects on time.

How best can the chal­lenge of re­tail real es­tate be won? The strat­egy adopted by you to ex­pand en­sur­ing that it does not pinch your fi­nance.

Pu­ru­raj Dutt: Be­sides proper plan­ning and ex­e­cu­tion, we are also think­ing to bring in a strate­gic in­vestor with a long-term com­mit­ment to the mall.

Su­nil Agrawal: We be­lieve in USP of P&M Mall and are to­tally fo­cused in work­ing in that di­rec­tion. We are not com­pet­ing with any­one and our aim is to give bet­ter ser­vice to our cus­tomers.

How will your mall be dif­fer­ent from the rest? What kind of en­ter­tain­ment and food zones do you have planned?

Pu­ru­raj Dutt: Genexx Square is an open court­yard mall.

It has four in­ter-con­nected blocks with a huge kund-like

(small reser­voir-like) area which is on its way to be­com­ing an ex­tremely hap­pen­ing spot. We are launch­ing a mul­ti­plex and a chil­dren’s en­ter­tain­ment sec­tion apart from an en­tire range of fast food coun­ters, QSR and fine-din­ing ar­eas, cater­ing to tastes from all cor­ners of In­dia.

Su­nil Agrawal: Our up­com­ing project City Cen­tre Mall, Jamshedpur has an at­trac­tive façade. The mall has a good col­lec­tion of food chains, both na­tional and in­ter­na­tional. We aim to give Jamshedpur peo­ple a feel of a premium mall and we are quite suc­cess­ful in our ap­proach. Hav­ing Prakash Jha, one of the most re­puted film Di­rec­tor in Bol­ly­wood, be­hind the de­vel­op­ing unit, we will also have fre­quent vis­its of film stars in the mall. By this move we will be able to dif­fer­en­ti­ate our­selves from oth­ers which will even­tu­ally in­crease the pop­u­lar­ity and foot­falls.

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