At the second day of the 2015 edition of the India Shopping Centre (ISCF)—India’s largest and the only knowledge sharing platform for the Retail Real Estate industry, some of the brightest minds from the retail realty discussed their experiences, how the mall industry has evolved in the past, and gazed into the proverbial crystal ball as to what lies ahead for the industry.
Yogeshwar Sharma, Executive Director, Select CITYWALK, moderated this brainstorming session. In his opening comment Sharma, said that “Indian malls should not be compared to the malls of Dubai or Singapore, because we build malls for our own people, we don’t make malls for them to be tourist destinations.” After setting the perspective for the session, Sharma, asked the eminent panel to share their respective views on the learnings they had and what is the way forward for the industry.
Shibu Philips, Business Head, Lulu Mall, says, “Here in India malls were leasing just 6% of their space to the F&B category whereas internationally the composition of the is around 30%. Finally, now the Indian malls are giving higher space to the F&B category. The category has now emerged as one of the key drivers for the mall business.”
Sanjeev Mehra, VP, Quest Mall however was more upbeat on F&B. He asserted that, “I feel we should give around 40-45 % weightage to the F&B category in the malls if we want to make them community hubs. In the future we need to focus on F&B and the entertainment category.”
Giving her perspective on the future scope for the mall industry, Benu Sehgal, VP, Mall Management, DLF Place, said, “Evolution is something that we cannot defy. Malls in essence are platforms. They need to act as a bridge between retailers and customers. We need to make a mall so comfortable that a customer can spend hours together in the mall. The malls should be a public space, perhaps even a community centre for people to be at, and the more time people will spend in the mall, more will be the business for the retailers.”
Talking about the e-commerce and how it’s a blessing in disguise for malls, Rajendra Kalkar, Senior Centre Director (West), The Phoenix Mills, said that “The sudden boom of e-commerce in India is good for retail industry as it has got the people in a habit to buy more and often, and the consumption rate has increased and this has indirectly benefited the malls also.” Taking this thought further Mehra also resonated that e-commerce is a friend not a foe, it is growing the market organically and this growth is healthy for all the stakeholders of retail industry.”