FIELD TESTED IDEAS TO MAKE YOUR SHOPPING CENTER MORE VALUABLE
Shopping centre specialists tell the real, boots-on-theground story of what it’s like to create a valuable mall - what they don’t teach at Business Schools and in the Bluebook of Shopping Centre Management.
A panel comprising moderator Sanjeev Mehra, Vice-President, Quest Properties; Lalit Jain, Head - Properties Project Planning, Spencer’s Retail (RP Sanjiv Goenka Group); M A Mehaboob, Founder & MD, Secura Investment Management (India) and Promoter, AIF Real Estate Fund; Mahesh M, CEO, Ishanya Mall; and Sanjay Vakharia, Director & COO, Spykar Lifestyles.
Talking about the peculiarity of the retail business, Sanjeev Mehra said, “For mall developers, it is imperative to stay positive, because if want to stay relevant we need to be positive about everything. The idiosyncrasies of our business are extreme and we need to innovate time-tested ideas to work with them. People who run the mall need to have a sixth sense to run it successfully.”
Lalit Jain, stressing on the importance of keeping the retail business full of inventiveness, said, “You can’t stop innovating, otherwise you are dead. Since we can’t percolate down to the last level of HR, we need managers whose job is to reinvent the wheel, to stay positive and relevant even in the difficult times.”
M A Mehaboob, added, “This business needs to be worked with certain fundamentals combined with ground realities to get greater return on investment. At the end of the day we need to conceptualise and run a mall in an efficient and sustainable manner for investors and customers to be happy.”
Mahesh M, talking about the importance of staying relevant to the niche, said, “We shouldn’t lose core focus of the promise that we set out to deliver to the consumer in the first place. My mall used to focus on walk-ins – the footfall with an intent. We then started enabling retail on our own and so, when retailer saw us sticking our necks out, they also joined us in our endeavour. We did lot of coordinated campaigns with retailers and the results were more walk-ins leading to better revenue shares and even better bottomlines.”
Sanjay Vakharia stated, “Back in the 1990s, denim was a commodity, and not a lifestyle/ fashion product. So, carving a niche for ourselves, we created a brand with a micro niche for youngsters and this was the main reason we were able to create a dent in the market. Spykar, as of now, has 200 stores and 1,400 points of sale and last year’s revenues closed at Rs 325 crore.”
All the panelists agreed that with sharp focus and by not letting customers out of their sight, right businesses can be created for the right set of audiences.
For mall developers, it is imperative to stay positive, because if want to stay relevant we need to be positive about everything. The idiosyncrasies of our business are extreme and we need to innovate time-tested ideas to work with them.
– Sanjeev Mehra VP, Quest Properties
L to R: Lalit Jain, Head - Properties Project Planning, Spencer’s Retail (RP Sanjiv Goenka Group); Sanjay Vakharia, Director & COO, Spykar Lifestyles; M A Mehaboob, Founder and MD, Secura Investment Management (India) and Promoter, AIF Real Estate...