Shape Of Things To Come

VM&RD - - RETAIL TALK -

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

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