The last panel discussion of the first day of IMAGES Shopping Centre Forum 2014 was an invigorating one on the two synergy between malls and retailers: malls facilitating entry of international brands in India, International brands adding the glitter to Indian malls.
Sanjeev Mehra, Vice President, Quest Mall (CESC Properties), the moderator for the session, initiated the discussion by bringing everyone’s attention by asking the audience whether international brands would have been able to offer the same experience to the Indian consumers had such attractive malls not come up in India, and whether our malls would have looked the same if the international brands were missing!
Rajendra Kalkar, Senior Centre Director, Palladium Mall (High Street Phoenix), said: “Customers and retailers are evolving and they want to replicate what they see abroad. But there is some time left before this can happen. Pattabhi Rama Rao, President, Cookie Man India, added that the mix of brands in a shopping centre should be a reflection of what the customer needs to be successful. Sadly, the malls that collapsed in the past got this equation wrong. Amol Akolkar, Head – Business Development, Tata Starbucks, added, “We have created a niche that is unique to Starbucks. Quality and consistency of the drinks, the ambience is what our customers are able to identify with Starbucks.” He also said that Starbucks carefully chose where they wanted to open each of their 44 stores in four cities in India.
Dinaz Madhukar, Senior VP and Mall Head, DLF Promenade and DLF Emporio malls, shared her views on how her malls have created zones for different types of brands. “We have also tried to stick as much as possible and that has paid off greatly in terms of footfalls,” she added.
Pattabhi Rama Rao, President, Cookie Man India, talked about shopping centres and retailers understanding that hypermarkets have a certain mix of people that they attract. “There is a huge thought process change that has come about in many malls that I see. They understand their primary customer and his spending patterns to give the perfect mix of brands to optimize footfalls,” he stated.
For a detailed coverage and intensive interactions with our key speakers, watch out for the next issue of Shopping Centre News.