Hybrid shopping centres, entertainment theme malls, or destination-driven shopping centres – Which retail formats have the winning edge and define the future Indian shopping centres? With the retail industry at the threshold of renewed growth and adopting new concepts, retail real estate and mall developers, too, are aspiring to introduce new formats and concepts and set new benchmarks.
Speaking on the sidelines of the India Retail Forum (IRF) 2013, prominent developers of the country came together to share their views on the dream format for a shopping centre that would help them scale new heights.
Thirumal Govindraj, MD – Management, RMZ Corp, said that his dream format would comprise a strip mall concept that has single shops, large parking lot, with a lot of green spaces. For Vishal Mirchandani, CEO – Retail & Commercial, Brigade Group, his dream project would be a massive destination-driven shopping centre sitting on the edge of an important city with well-connected infrastructure. Apart from being a great mix of shopping, food, leisure and entertainment, the project would also offer large concepts for children, for e.g. to be able to have a game park within the shopping centre. However, the implementation of the model will have two limitations – absence of relevant retail players and categories, and transport infrastructure.
Pushpa Bector, Senior VP, DLF – Mall of India, stated that just like in other developed countries retail expanded with suburban expansion and certain retail expanded with downtown expansions. Planned suburban expansion with super regional malls and statement projects around that planned expansion is the way ahead for any real estate developer.
A hybrid shopping centre is the dream format for Cyrus Engineer, Head – Sales & Marketing, Tata Realty as the current Indian consumer is not homogenous so developers need to address his varying needs. The hybrid format would appeal to the value seekers, youth, and premium customers. Abhishek Bansal, ED, Pacific Mall, said that in his shopping centre he would like a bit of culture and community connect because in the future shopping centres will not be just retail shopping destinations, and will be places where people gather on weekends or holidays or just hang out and not just shop. He pointed out that in India not many places are being built as public places or parks so shopping centres are an answer to this.
Commenting on and highlighting the absence of ‘entertainment and fun services’ providers, S. Raghunandan, CEO – Retail, Prestige Group, said this was an opportunity loophole, but if this were to be plugged, an entertainment theme mall would be his dream format.