Interview of Atul Ruia, MD, Phoenix Mills Ltd.
Indian Retail Realism
Phoenix Mills Ltd has been a pioneer in converting mill land into modern, multi-use integrated property. Led by young Managing Director, Atul Ruia, the company is redefining the retail development in Indian cities. Talking to Realty Plus, he gives his insight on what retail real-estate means today.
What has been the growth pattern of retail real-estate in India?
Retail real-estate in India has come a long way over the past 15 years. From mere shopping destinations, malls have become urban lifestyle consumption destinations which offer holistic & premium experience for retail, F&B and entertainment as a mix.
The Phoenix Mills Limited has been at the forefront of this evolution. Our large retail-led, mixed-use developments have the best-in-class modern facilities available inside each of our integrated developments. Our city-centric developments are landmarks/destinations in the cities where they operate, around which prominent commercial and residential hubs have sprung up.
Consequently, our centers are the best urban lifestyle consumption destinations in the key gateway cities of India.
What are the newer formats of retail space?
A mall is a living breathing animal that keeps on evolving through its life. While initially, it will have larger concentration of Anchor brands, over the years the brand mix evolves having smaller super premium offerings. For example last year at High Street Phoenix, a large hypermarket made way for an international departmental store, H&M – a brand that is more in sync with our target customers –which inaugurated its flagship store in Mumbai in August 2016.
Besides churn in the existing brands and store categories, key focus area for malls is to enhance overall experience for the entire family. As a result, malls are reformatting themselves by expanding entertainment zones and by providing varied food & beverages options. Snow World, Amoeba (Bowling & gaming center) and the newly opened PVR’s 4DX theatre at Phoenix Market city, Mumbai are some of the best example of this evolution. These newer formats result in higher frequency of repeat customer visits and longer time spent by the customer in each visit
Phoenix Mills is the pioneer of mixed-use development model in India. Our strategy is to acquire city-centric, large land parcels which we typically anchor with a million square feet of retail development in the first phase of development and the balance development potential is utilized by residential, commercial or hotel developments which complement the retail development.
What are the new trends in Mall concept and designs?
It is critical for malls to be in sync with the changing aspirations and demands of consumers. With growing economy resulting into rising disposable income, consumers have become more savvy and demanding. As India’s leading mall operator, Phoenix Mills constantly refurbishes and upgrades its malls, introducing new concepts, designs and experiences. We also create 360 degree sensorial experience which constitutes perfume architecture & music architecture designed specifically for the different zones of the mall, larger than life visually appealing décor experiences & events. The smaller malls too, can thrive in any gateway city provided they remain contemporary and satisfy consumers’ need to fulfill varied experiences for the entire family under one roof.