Pushpa Bector on why DLF Mall of India is the 'in' retail destination

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The opening of DLF Mall of India (MOI) is considered a milestone achievement in the retail real estate industry of India’s NCR region. In an exclusive conversation with Images Retail, Executive Vice President and Head, DLF Mall of India Pushpa Bector shares her views on how this new retail destination will create new retail opportunities for its discerning patrons.
Why did DLF choose Noida to open one of its most prime retail realty projects? Tell us about the catchment area you are catering to?
To begin with, Noida as an area is a great location as it’s easily accessible from South, Central, North and East Delhi. Noida is growing at an exponential pace for the last 4-5 years with tremendous opportunities in real estate (both commercial and residential) and retail. The population has been growing at a steady rate as the job opportunities have been increasing with the region. We, DLF Mall of India, identified a gap in quality retail real estate in Noida and the lack of access to premium foreign and Indian brands that are easily available in other regions of Delhi NCR. This is one of the reasons for launching India’s largest destination mall in India.
It indeed is a milestone in the retail real estate industry not only in NCR but in India. Noida as a region is relatively young when compared to other tier II cities and we see a huge influx of professionals in the region with rising income levels and increased spending on retail, food and entertainment. Retailing in Noida is at an inflection point and one of the main factors is the readiness for retail and entry of retailers into Noida. Retail opportunity in Noida has been growing rapidly in the last few years and with the launch of Mall of India we have tried to bring some of the best brands from apparels, F&B and entertainment to cater the growing retail and consumer demand in the region. Our focus has also been on creating jobs locally, directly and indirectly, through Mall of India project to contribute to community around the mall.
Being the first destination mall in India, DLF MOI will attract customers across Delhi NCR and nearby tier II cities. Mall of India is not only catering to the shopaholics but also to the discerning food lovers and individuals looking for entertainment that gives them a rush of adrenaline. We have allocated 40 per cent for food and entertainment which is unprecedented move in the retail real estate industry. We have created an interesting line up for this segment like Smaaash, Ski India (indoor snow gaming park), Funcity (first kids theme auditorium in India) and EAT Food lounge – food court with over 1000 seating capacity, which will offer 20 local and global cuisines to cater to everybody’s palate. These are the reasons that make the whole of Delhi NCR our catchment area.
What is the total built-up area of the mall? What percentage of the mall is leased out?
The total built-up area of the mall is 2.7 million sq.ft. / 27 lakh sq. ft. Mall is 97 per cent leased out at this point of time.
Many leading national and international brands are already operational in the mall, out of which some have opened their finest stores in DLF MOI. Tell us about the response they are receiving?
We have more than 200 brands operational at the moment out of the 300+ brands that will be operational imminently. We did a soft launch in mid-December and received an overwhelming response from the visitors. More than 100 + brands started the operations during the soft launch and were happy with the sales figures in the first month of operations. As planned, we have also launched Mall of India by end of April.
Tell us about the retail brands in your mall?
There are close to 75 plus brands that have been operational by mid-April. From our anchor brands we have H&M and Zara. Brands like Marks and Spencer, Tommy Hilfiger Kids, Aldo, Charles & Keith, Quicksilver, Ethos, DKNY, Tag Heuer, Inglot, MAC, Forest Essentials, Swarovski and Hush Puppies from fashion and lifestyle segment. Brands like Chaayos, Pirates of the Grill, Mamagoto, Chili’s, Dunkin Donuts, Carl’s JR. and Smaaash are the ones from F&B and entertainment section.
What kind of footfall is DLF Mall of India generating?
We anticipate 30 lakh customers visiting MOI in a month once it’s 80-85 per cent operational.
Tell us about the zoning at DLF Mall of India.
This is entirely a new concept that DLF Mall of India has come up with. As a mall developer, we at DLF Mall of India are making sure that consumers get the best experience with ease and comfort of shopping. Thus, through our marquee project, we are going to introduce the iconic and unique concept of zoning in India that would offer an eclectic ensemble of retail offerings spread over five zones defined as Market Place, International Boulevard, The High Street, Family World and Leisure Land. Zoning is going to help our consumers make planned purchases and outings – all of which is going to be a real life experience for the consumers. Each zone is a mini mall in itself and is categorized in a manner that would help the consumers save time and efforts while catering to their specific needs.
What is the importance of food courts in the new age malls? Tell us about your food court and the F&B brands in the mall.
Food and beverage and entertainment are increasingly becoming more and more critical for the mall experience, a trend that we have identified across the country. It has become one of the key differentiators at malls, the space allocation for F&B and entertainment has shot up and vindicates our approach to earmark 40 per cent of the mall for this segment.
The look and feel of the food court at Mall of India is second to none, we have focused on the ambience, space and the style to make dining experience for the customers as comfortable and pleasant as possible. We often see space constraints at foodcourts at most of the malls and keeping that in mind we have limited the number of seats to provide ample space to diners.
Brands like Wow Momos, Juice Lounge, Keventers, Baskin Robins, KFC, Rolls King, The Bento Café, Tikka Town, Vaango, Item No., Ala Turka, Insta Pizza and Taco Bell, to name a few, have already started operations.
Let’s talk about the FEC zone in the mall. Why, according to you, are FEC zones are becoming an integral part of modern malls?
Family Entertainment Centre is increasingly becoming an integral part of the mall as visitors look for one stop shop for entertainment, shopping and dining. We have spearheaded a new trend in retail real estate in the country by dedicating 40 per cent of the space for F&B and FEC to provide exceptional experience for our consumers. DLF MOI is going to nest the largest indoor entertainment zone as well as the largest food court of the country. This would significantly enhance the overall customer experience and give them more reasons than ever to come to a mall other than just shopping.

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