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India Fashion Forum outlines future roadmap for growth of fashion & retail industry

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~ More than 50 percent of retail spaces across 7 cities vacant-
-Collaboration and long-term partnership of retailer and mall developers critical for tier 2 & 3 cities ~

The Fashion Industry stalwarts congregated at the India Fashion Forum (IFF) 2012 for an exchange of industry best practices and knowledge-sharing. The forum discussed the challenges confronted by players in achieving the exponential growth of fashion industry in India and the untapped India opportunity that exists.

The session on retail spaces, represented by eminent panelists consisted of top honchos from Oberoi Realty, Inorbit, Reliance Trends, Tata Realty, Provogue, Arvind Retail puts forth interesting insights. Anuj Puri, Chiarman, JLL highlighted that out of the 16 million sq.ft. of retail space available across 7 cities out of which over 12 million sq.ft. remains vacant and 1.8 lakh crore sq.ft. will be available by 2013.

The panelists arrived at a consensus that the retail industry needs a considerable growth strategy to avoid oversupply in key catchment areas. Mall development is at its nascent stage in India compared to developed countries where mall management, culture and shopping experiences are highly evolved. The entire retail industry is evolving and both retailers and mall developers are learning from their mistakes, hence partnership of the two is a vital for the success of retail in India. Proactive management for developers would mean designing amenities inside mall and for retailers it would be store sizes. Retailers should understand market demographics especially in tier 2 and 3 cities and accordingly determine store size, thereby, negating the high rentals and low footfalls scenario.

Sunil Biyani – Director, Future Group said: “Over a period of time most malls will succeed; Ahmedabad will take 18-24 months on an average for their malls to be successful after adopting aggressive marketing strategies. There will be footfalls in Pune. Tier II locations for malls are the key players in future.”

Kevin Chee – Country head, Capital Malls Asia, said: “The three factors that the developers and retailers should keep in mind are long term view for a business to give returns, proactive management- for landlord, developer and retailer and partnership with the landlord and the retailer should go hand-in-hand.”

The second day of the India Fashion Forum concluded with a simulating discussion on ‘Dressing up for success- Retail Environment Management’ where the panelists emphasized the need for creating perfect in-store experience and reinforcing the emotional connect with customers through visual merchandise.

Speaking at the session, Stuart Simon, CEO, Restore Solutions said: “Brands these days tend to lose sight of their USP’s hence losing their core customers and core competencies. There is a lack of awareness on the basics of retail business. To understand the customer and have an emotional connect is of paramount importance. We need to adapt to consumer need and not vice-versa. Visual Merchandizing is indeed very crucial in order to engage with the customer. Going by figures it takes approximately 3 seconds to grab the attention of the consumer and 80 percent purchases being made on impulse hence stressing on the visual merchandizing being an integral part of selling the product.”

India Fashion Forum 2012 has been the focal point for fashion captains to converge – Learn, Share and Evolve – and fashion the future of retail in India. Seamless exchange of experiences and innovative ideas at IFF pave the way not just for the fashion industry, but for many other industries that are directly or indirectly interlinked to designing, marketing and retailing fashion and lifestyle products in India. IFF’ 12 promises to be bigger and better than ever before with a new venue, an impressive increase in the number of participating brands and companies, category expansion with four other concurrent and related shows this year.

-Images Bureau

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