Shape Of Things To Come
Malls are dramatically changing shopping mores across India, and there is no looking back
with Susil Dungarwal, Chief Mall Mechanic, Beyond Squarefeet.
What is the mall scenario in India?
Malls are here to stay. Today malls have been integrated into the social fabric of our country. They have developed to become community centres rather than just shopping hotspots. People meet, eat and breathe at the malls. The long way we have come today sets further milestones for the future of malls.
How would you define malls?
A place can be called a mall only when it has all the aspects under one roof; shopping, entertainment, food and cinema. It is a common misconception in our country that any complex which houses shops is a mall. This mistake is made by big time developers of the industry as well. But we have come a long way and we will get over these misconceptions as well.
How well are malls progressing?
In the initial years after malls stepped into India, it was a common belief that malls are expensive. That notion has now faded out. Malls are where the growth of retail will happen. There are about 300 malls in India right now and 500 are already in the pipeline. This shows the exponential nature of growth. They set the guidelines of how people will shop in the future. They are bound to influence the culture of the country as they have the power in them to change how people think. Today malls are everywhere. They are not only the pride of tier-1 cities; but tier-2 and tier3 cities as well are flourishing with malls. I would say they are doing well everywhere except Ahmedabad. In Ahmedabad the notion that malls are expensive is still there. Also, with its proximity to Mumbai and the love of Ahmedabad residents for Mumbai as a metro city, lures them to shop in Mumbai. But with Alpha One mall opening two years ago, the mall culture in Ahmedabad is also changing.
What changes has the mall concept brought about in the mindset of people?
Since malls were considered to be expensive destinations in the initial years, they set aspirations for the consumers. They evoked a feeling among people that one day I will shop from here. With increased aspirational value, people are willing to spend more on their lifestyle today. There is a drastic change from the time when people would shop for things