Established in 1967 as a family business, Ansal API is among the leading Realty and Infrastructure companies of India. Talking to Realty Plus, Pranav Ansal, Vice Chairman – Ansal API, elaborates on the nuts and bolts of the retail realty.
How do you see the current retail sector market situation?
The organized retail sector is growing in the country in spite of the digital disruption that has to an extent adversely impacted this segment. However, with the GDP of the company on the positive trajectory, the sales of products and goods will continue to grow in both online and offline space. Moreover, people prefer shopping malls not only for the availability of all conveniences under one-roof, but also because they offer leisure and entertainment option for the entire family. So, retail segment will always see a growth.
What potential of retail realty do you see in the Delhi-NCR region?
The population in Delhi-NCR region is growing rapidly along with the aspirations of the people for a better lifestyle. For last three years, the retail in Delhi-NCR region has been growing at around 12-15 per cent. This growth will continue and might go higher because of the influx from the adjoining semi-rural areas and urban areas. There are enough shopping malls in the Delhi- NCR and there is good competition. New malls are coming up and most of the existing malls too are doing well. The trick is to get the right tenant mix along with positioning, zoning and the facilities which are most critical for development of a mall.
Is online shopping trend a threat to brick & mortar shops?
Globally, people are leaning towards shopping online for the convenience of getting the product delivered at home without making a trip to the shopping store. In the long run, the shop will become more of an experience centres where people can touch and feel the product and later buy online. In fact, in USA, this trend seems to be setting in already. Certain stores there have products on display for the shopper to feel and experience and from the tablet provided in store they order goods online to be delivered at their doorstep. This is a good combination of how online and brick & mortar stores can complement each other. This concept is trending in India as well with few brands having a store in the shopping mall as well as online shopping portal.
What is the role of factors like location, design and ambience in making a mall successful?
The most important factor that decides the fate of a shopping mall is location. Delhi-NCR region has seen all sorts of malls and the customers have experienced the variety. The consumers here are exposed to what is happening globally and therefore expect similar standards and amenities. The design, layout and planning all become critical right from the entry point, car parking to the valet service, facilities and ambience in giving the right kind of experience to the shopper.
Is Mixed-use development (retail with either office or residential) the way forward?
We built our first mall around 10 years ago which contained a hotel, multiplex and shopping. The mixed development other things is surely the way forward for the retail real-estate to grow. Retail is still an evolving sector and will see many combinations of development as per the market scenario and demand.
Which are some of the major micro markets in Delhi-NCR region for mall development?
In Delhi, malls near the metro stations do well as the traffic situation in the city has become a nightmare. So the areas around metro stations are the major micro- markets within Delhi for malls for the siple reason of easy commute for visitors.
Adjoining tier –II cities and Gurgaon, Greater Noida & Kundli in NCR are other areas with huge potential. The company has 10 operational malls and an upcoming mall in Meerut expected to be complete by next year. We are also looking for options in Mohali and Lucknow for mall development.
What is the way forward for retail realty segment?
The trend of hotels being part of the mall is getting popular. Also, many international brands are setting shop in India. The way forward for retail real-estate will see shopping malls as a one destination comprising multiplex, retail, F&B outlets and hotels.
Opening of FDI, REIT and PE investments for mall projects has been the favourable for developers as it addresses the funding and cash flow issues. This will enable constructing better malls with better defined product mix and improved facilities for the customers.