The world has embraced shopping malls over the last decade, and consumerism has gripped people. Taking advantage of the trend, retailers are opening stores everywhere – high streets, enclosed shopping malls, and open shopping hubs. One such retail destination which has captivated audiences is the airport.
There is always time to shop before boarding a flight or during layovers. The airport shopper has no distractions, is bored and is therefore drawn to attractive stores.
“Given the increasing number of air passengers every year in India and a crunch for quality retail space being faced by many foreign and domestic retailers across metros, airports are emerging as the next battleground for retailers. Following in the footsteps of major transit points globally, both the Delhi and Mumbai airports now offer a good tenant mix and demand for retail space is expected to rise at other busy airports too,” Managing Director, Retail Services, JLL India, Pankaj Renjhen, had written in 2016.
One such retail development which is all set to tap the transit consumer is Bharti Realty’s 700,000 sq ft food and beverage, shopping and leisure destination, Worldmark Aerocity, near the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi.
The 45-acre modernization project by the GMR Group has brought forward Aerocity as a new commercial space offering exciting dining options, coffee shops, conference rooms, world class office spaces, hotels, and some great stores and brand experiences for the avid shopper.
“About 1.3 lakh travellers use the Delhi airport lane every day. With Aerocity now being fully operational, there is huge change expected on how business travellers work, network without stepping out of the vicinity of the airport,” a Bharti Realty spokesperson said.
Apart from retail, Worldmark Aerocity promises to be a food hub unlike any Delhi has seen. It houses brands like Bikanerwala, Giani’s, Karim’s – Delhi 6, Chicago Pizza, Subway, Keventers, Khan Chacha, Street Foods by Punjab Grill, Biryani Blues, Oh So Stoned!, Wow! Momo, Asia Seven Express, Dolce Gelato, Go Gourmet,Chai Garam, Cafe Huddle and Cafe Delhi Heights to name a few in a 16,000 sq ft of eating-out space.
With airports witnessing tremendous commercial transformation through public-private partnerships, restaurateurs too forsee an immense opportunity in these dedicated retailing areas.
“Worldmark Aerocity is potentially one of the biggest tourist hubs so close to the Delhi airport. With 6,000 room keys, 20 different hotel properties and three malls, Aerocity in itself is a hospitality city. All these factors and easy connectivity make it a great place to be in,” says Owner, Cafe Delhi Heights, Vikrant Batra.
He further says, “We are expecting high footfalls. Being close to the airport a lot of tourists are expected, both Indians as well as foreigners. Moreover, Worldmark Aerocity is situated in a very convenient place so a lot of footfall can be expected from West Delhi, Dwarka, Gurugram and also from Central Delhi.”
Resonating the same thoughts, CEO and Director, Keventers, Sohrab Sitaram says, “We are expecting a mix of tourists, corporates, Gen X, Gen Y, and local residents of Dwarka, Vasant Vihar, and Vasant Kunj.”
Despite being situated just 10 kms away from the DLF CyberHub, the restaurateurs are upbeat about the success of the new transit retail destination due to the increasing prominence of proximity.
“Today the market for people to explore is based on the convenience and the time consumed to reach that place. Now the parameters for retail are not about the kilometers but the traffic and the time consumed to cover one kilometer to another. People prefer going out to places which are in close vicinity. Population per square kilometer in Delhi is so high that even if we have five CyberHubs in 20 kms then also all of them will do good,” says Batra.
Apart from an expansive eating-out space, Worldmark also marks the presence of Epicuria, which runs a food destination at Nehru Place Metro Station.
According to Co-founder, Epicuria, Vivek Bahl: “Worldmark Aerocity is the new central business district having transit and high end offices with five star travelers. Creating an entertainment place with best F&B brands will enhance the experience and is a ready market for F&B outlets. Also not to forget, it’s next to the airport and all the transit passengers are attracted to the new destination.”
While Bahl doesn’t want to limit Epicuria to a transit retail concept, the immense opportunity in travel retailing, especially as a result of Public Private Partnerships (PPP), can not be denied.
“Yes transit customers are target for Epicuria but also it being a business district and cluster of five star hotels with almost 5,000 rooms makes it a ready customer base. Also our target customers would be from South and West Delhi colonies which are not very far away,” reveals Bahl.
All restaurants in Epicuria will operate with the minimum guarantee and/or the revenue share model.
Next-gen Central Store
Recently, Future Group also opened its first ever next generation Central Store at Bharti Realty’s 1.5 million sq. ft. office-retail-leisure address.
A 100,000 sq ft store, spread across four floors with over 500 brands, has also helped Future Retail’s Group CEO Kishore Biyani move closer to his dream of being a leader in the department store formats in India.
The Aerocity store is designed on the principals of seducing customers into shopping more and offers everything possible to the urban shopper. The whole concept of the store is to ensure an unobstructed, pure shopping experience to customers.
Explaining about what makes Central a high definition format, CEO, Central, Vishnu Prasad, told Indiaretailing Bureau, “High definition means letting the brand express in its totality i.e. what does it stand for, followed by communicating it to the consumers; right from the product to people, to experience and delivery. All this is supported by the very core design of the store and the services which customers can not get in the other department store.”
To make the shopping experience enjoyable, the store offers VAT free shopping to the foreign travelers, golf kart services for a pickup and drop within Aerocity premises, and many such services.