Every industry aims at growth and expansion and the same applies to the shopping centre industry. The fourth year of The India Shopping Centre Forum (ISCF), the mega congregation of Shopping Centre Developers & Retailers, opened with an in-depth deliberation amongst industry leaders on the key challenges faced by the sector and the way forward for retail industry especially shopping centres.
The ISCF is an annual feature held with a vision of bringing together leading retailers, shopping centre developers, consultants, financial institutions and support professionals and companies. The year the theme is challenges before shopping centres. The need to cover more ground – to lay the right foundation for the future of retail in India.
The fourth edition of ISCF began with a silent tribute to the icon of Indian retail – Raghu Pillai who passed away in April this year. The congregation remembered the man who pioneered the concept of modern retail in India as early as the 1990s.
Moving ahead the inaugural session saw industry luminaries like BS Nagesh, vice chairman, Shoppers Stop, speak on the changing retailer-developer relationship status, while Raj Singh Gehlot, chairman, Ambience Group of Companies, highlighted the key elements in building successful malls in the future. Thomas Varghese, CEO, Aditya Birla Retail, chairman CII, National Committee on retail, and S Raghunandhan, chairman SCAI & CEO, Prestige Retail Group again touched upon the changing retailer-developer relationship and how both can create a win-win situation through a mutually beneficial partnership.
The panel agreed that shopping centres are an integral part of economic growth. They symbolize the civilization and lifestyle development of the economy.
Raj Singh Gehlot highlighted the key elements for building successful malls in the future. He said that a shopping centre needs to create an experience for its customers. It should have a clear positioning depending upon the attitude and lifestyle of the catchments area. He further added, “This sector has high growth trajectory as the consumer behaviour and preferences are changing. Today we have entered the new era of ‘Experiential Economy’. A mall visit should provide a customer a memorable and ’emotions evoking’ experience. Mall developers should readily adapt to the changes as per the consumer requirements and emerging social and psychological trends.”
BS Nagesh spoke about the changing scenario in the retail sector. The industry has gone through multiple stages starting from bullish optimism six years ago to a pessimistic bent and then back to positive optimism last year. Today it is at the stage of Truism. This is possible because of the “Revenue sharing model” adopted by the mall developers. This model has brought trust factor in the partnership between the retailers and the mall developers.
Insisting on developing a partnership not limited to the retailers and mall developers Nagesh emphasised on the need to involve the entire eco-system including the customers, the mall employees and the society as a whole.
Varghese highlighting the positive development in the retail sector stated that the Indian organized retail market will grow from USD 170 billion to USD 260 billion by 2020 which will generate around 13 million jobs. He highlighted the importance of organised retail in driving economic growth as the industry has the ability to serve
producers (farmers and manufacturers), employees, consumers and the government.
Later on in a session titled ‘Shopping Centres as catalysts in urbanisation of India’ anchored by Anuj Puri, chairman & country head, JLL, Manish Kalani, MD, EWDPL, stressed on the fact that shopping centres are an integral part of modern living, as much as schools, offices, hospitals and banks. However they do not figure on the agenda of the government and town planners as important part of India’s
infrastructure development plans. The Municipal Corporations don’t have a bylaw for shopping centres. Pallavi More, president, Growel Group opined that to build a community, shopping centres are important and the authorities should consider the same while preparing the master plan. They should earmark facilities for shopping centres. It was agreed upon to highlight the outcome of this session to the national press. The organisers will further pursue the matter with the regulatory authorities.
– IndiaRetailing Bureau