Retail Realty in India
Pankaj Renjhen, Managing Director- Retail Services – JLL India moderating the session posed a pertinent question to the panellists – what is the reason that out of present 450 malls across India not more than 50 which is less than 10% are successful. Amit Phull, Head, Retail – Ansal API giving the example of Ansal Plaza I the heart of South Delhi said that anything that could go wrong went wrong for that mall. “It had multiple owners, the building had structural issue, there was no multiplex etc. To re-launch it, we studied the catchment demographics, wallet size of the catchment, planned out-of-the-box offering such as Decathlon- the biggest sports goods retailer brand as anchor store and focusing on amphitheatre for providing entertainment – again a differentiator. In its new avatar, the mall is now more than shopping is a place that offers an experience.
Pranay Sinha, Founder Star Centres agreed that since the time Ansal Plaza had come up as the first mall of Delhi, the sector has changed drastically. “In last 13 years or more lot of fundamental changes have occurred like lesser constraints from government, permission to have multiplexes in malls, growth of multi-city F&B brands and entry of international brands among others. The objective of any mall is to be financially profitable whether it is a 2500, 000sft or 2.0 million sft mall. The main criteria’s are the budget, opportunities in that region and gaps of that particular market.The real estate aspect of the mall has its own finger print partly created and partly evolved. Neighbourhood malls smaller in sizes are mainly for shopping and not necessarily depend on F&B and entertainment to work, whereas larger malls on outskirts are experience centres rather than a shopping destination.”
Pushpa Bector, Executive VP & HEAD – DLF Malls was of the opinion that developers earlier did not look at the positioning of the property and wallet power of that area when planning a mall. “The gap between consumer needs and the challenge of positioning should be bridged, end to end services can be offed and occupancy cost should be kept viable for retailers through optimum planning.” Adding to it, Architect Gian P Mathur, Managing Director- GPM India said that best possible circulation, easy connectivity to parking, exit, facilities etc. and energy efficiency to reduce camp chargers are the game changers. “The building has a long life but trends change every 15-20 years and so the mall has to re-invent accordingly. Also, the developers should consider adopting high street shopping format or air-conditioned closed malls as per the positioning and location of the project as both formats have their positives and negatives.
Sam Chopra, President – National Association of Realtors (NAR) India agreed that Al-fresco seating, shaded walkways etc. of high street shopping are a selling point in themselves. “With e-commerce getting popular apparel anchor store are getting replaced by F&B outlets. Outlet malls are going to be the next big thing in retail developments on the outskirt of the city for bulk buying.” Highlighting the international trends Renjhenpointed out that malls were emerging as wedding venues with atriums turning into wedding place. The drivers for this trend being convenient location of mall, available parking and all the services like florist, food etc. “At one point of time, every developer wanted mall project in their portfolio. It’s critical to learn from financially failed malls. Community of services is what consumer demands therefore, project planning has to be very location and catchment specific,” he concluded.