The Great In­dian Mall rev­o­lu­tion will spin into its next cy­cle of evo­lu­tion, writes Anuj Ke­jri­wal, ANAROCK Re­tail

MGS Architecture - - Contents -

There is so much talk of the death of brick-and-mor­tar re­tail as a con­se­quence of the ag­gres­sive ad­vent of e-commerce into the coun­try, when the fact is that shop­ping malls have just got started in In­dia - and they are def­i­nitely here to stay. Malls of­fer a touch-and-feel ben­e­fit which on­line shop­ping can­not. Also, go­ing to a mall be­comes an out­ing for the fam­ily and friends, of­ten cou­pled with a meal at the food court and a movie at the cine­plex. All this in air-con­di­tioned com­fort, es­ca­la­tors and lifts con­nect­ing ev­ery­thing to the park­ing be­low, and scrupu­lously cleaned san­i­tary fa­cil­i­ties at all lev­els. The mas­sive In­dian mid­dle class loves this ex­pe­ri­ence and on­line re­tail is un­likely to put malls in the shade in In­dia any­time soon. The com­mute to and from a mall is an im­por­tant fac­tor con­sid­er­ing that go­ing to the car park and wait­ing for your turn to take the el­e­va­tor is a daunt­ing task, and it is def­i­nitely not worth it just for pick­ing up a hand­ful of non­crit­i­cal items. How­ever, In­di­ans are also quite open to de­fer­ring smaller pur­chases for the week­ends, when they can cou­ple the shop­ping with other ac­tiv­i­ties which a mall can of­fer. No doubt, on­line shop­ping por­tals of­fer more va­ri­ety and deeper dis­counts. How­ever, it is gen­er­ally known that the deep dis­count ethos will even­tu­ally go the way of the di­nosaur. These por­tals have been in­vest­ing heav­ily into gar­ner­ing a loyal cus­tomer base, and mar­gins have been thin at best. In the West, on­line re­tail has proved to be a ma­jor dis­rup­tor for phys­i­cal re­tail - es­pe­cially given the fact that there is no dearth of things for fam­i­lies to do on week­ends. As a re­sult, vis­it­ing a mall ranks much lower on the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion’s pri­or­ity list. In In­dia, our cities have de­vel­oped hap­haz­ardly, open spa­ces are van­ish­ing and pub­lic trans­port is of­ten

un­re­li­able. In such a sce­nario, a visit to a clean, vis­ually vi­brant and cen­trally air-con­di­tioned mall is a ma­jor at­trac­tion. Cities that have seen max­i­mum malls in­clude Gur­gaon, Noida, Greater Noida and Delhi in NCR, Mum­bai, Chennai, Ben­galuru, and Pune. Low va­cancy lev­els and high rentals in Tier I cities are also paving the way for re­tail ex­pan­sion in Tier II cities like Lucknow, Coim­bat­ore, Chandigarh, Man­ga­lore, and Ahmed­abad, to name a few. In fact, sens­ing im­mense op­por­tu­ni­ties and easy pen­e­tra­tion into the In­dian re­tail di­as­pora, over­seas re­tail­ers are now ex­pand­ing not just in met­ros but even Tier 2 cities namely Ahmed­abad, Chandigarh, Lucknow, and Jaipur. This has led to mush­room­ing of malls all across the coun­try.

The Mixed-use Mantra

It has be­come in­creas­ingly ev­i­dent that no mall in In­dia to­day can de­pend solely on shop­ping as its prime source of rev­enue­gen­er­a­tion and foot­falls. De­vel­op­ers have un­der­stood that they need to trans­form their malls into com­mu­nity spa­ces to stay rel­e­vant to to­day’s far more dis­cern­ing cus­tomers. Be­sides seek­ing a holis­tic shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence, con­sumers want to be com­fort­able and have some­thing that in­spires them to stay longer and, more es­sen­tially, per­suades them to re­turn. This has led to a con­stant ef­fort by In­dian mall op­er­a­tors to pro­vide the re­quired spe­cial­ized ex­pe­ri­ence. Thus, most malls are striv­ing to be­come prom­i­nent ‘shop­per­tain­ment’ lo­ca­tions. To­day’s top-per­form­ing shop­ping malls are mixe­duse busi­nesses that in­cor­po­rate so­cial en­ter­tain­ment op­tions, pro­vide unique ap­peal along with cer­tain depth in the shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence, and are in prime lo­ca­tions that are eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble by both pub­lic and pri­vate trans­port. Since large malls are bet­ter able to in­cor­po­rate all the fea­tures re­quired for suc­cess­ful op­er­a­tions, they tend to do bet­ter than the smaller ones. For in­stance, the foot­falls in To­tal Mall at Sar­japur Road in Ban­ga­lore are far less than Phoenix Mar­ket City in White­field area. The lat­ter is much larger and pro­vides a com­plete ‘ex­pe­ri­ence’ in­clud­ing shop­ping, en­ter­tain­ment, res­tau­rants, movies etc. In con­trast, the for­mer is a smaller mall with just a few re­tail out­lets and min­i­mum en­ter­tain­ment fa­cil­i­ties.

Rein­vented Malls - What Lies Be­neath?

De­spite the in­ces­sant con­sumer ap­petite for malls in In­dia, many malls did not work out. This can hap­pen for a va­ri­ety of rea­sons – the wrong lo­ca­tion lack­ing pub­lic trans­port ac­cess, in­suf­fi­cient or un­sci­en­tific park­ing ar­range­ments, lack of re­search for what kind of re­tail­ers will work in a given mi­cro­mar­ket (lead­ing to an un­suit­able ten­ant mix), lack of a food court, etc. Strata-own­er­ship of shops was also a ma­jor is­sue in many of the failed malls, as this in­vari­ably meant that the mall did not have the ben­e­fit of cen­trally paid-for pro­fes­sional mall man­age­ment ser­vices. This re­sults in the poor up­keep of fa­cil­i­ties, no pro­mo­tional ac­tiv­i­ties to drive foot­falls, and no pro­fes­sional ad­vi­sory ser­vices on how the mall should be ten­anted - or, if nec­es­sary, rein­vented. In fact, many malls that have failed to per­form as per ex­pec­ta­tions over the years have ei­ther been con­verted into com­mer­cial of­fice spa­ces or even been de­vel­oped into res­i­den­tial build­ings. Some clas­sic ex­am­ples in­clude An­sal Plaza in Delhi which has been con­verted into more of a com­mer­cial com­plex, while Jewel Square, Kakade Cen­tre Port and East Court in Pune have also been con­verted into of­fice spa­ces. Malls such as Nir­mal Life­styles, Mum­bai are be­ing ‘re­born’ as res­i­den­tial build­ings. The process of evo­lu­tion for the re­tail in­dus­try is a con­stant work-in-progress, and only the tried-and-tested mod­els will ac­tu­ally work.

Over the next 5 years, nearly 85 malls are ex­pected to come up in In­dia, and more than 30 new malls ac­count­ing for nearly 14 mil­lion sq.ft. area are ex­pected to open just in the top eight cities by 2020

DLF Mall of In­dia

As de­vel­op­ers learn through trial and er­ror and come up with more win­ning for­mu­las for their malls, and as a re­tail­ers get more into om­nichan­nel sell­ing, we will see the Great In­dian Mall rev­oluɵon spin into its next cy­cle of evoluɵon, writes Anuj Ke­jri­wal, MD & CEO, ANAROCK Re­tail

Phoenix Mar­ket City, Mum­bai

Am­bi­ence Mall Gurugram

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.