She has over 24 years of operational experience with The Taj Group of Hotels, India’s largest luxury hospitality chain, as General Manager where she lead multiple functions with her final posting as General Manager of the charming Taj Connemara.
Currently, she is responsible for providing executive leadership and management of DLF’s Vasant Kunj Retail Complex including DLF Emporio, DLF Restaurants including the iconic Set’z. In addition to this, she is responsible for the management of hospitality vertical of DLF that includes The Lodhi. She is also responsible for DLF’s upcoming luxury projects namely, YPCC (Chanakyapuri) a joint venture with NDMC at the historic Chanakya Cinema location.
In an exclusive tête-à-tête with Indiaretailing Bureau’s Charu Lamba, she spills the beans on zoning, upcoming brands and technological advancements at DLF Emporio…
Tell us about the retail brand mix at DLF Emporio.
DLF Emporio is the finest and only luxury mall in India housing over 100 Indian and international luxury brands. From international brands like Louis Vuitton, Dior, Cartier, Gucci, BVLGARI to designer labels like Tarun Tahiliani, Gaurav Gupta, Shantanu & Nikhil, Anita Dongre, to lifestyle brands like Villeroy & Boch, Bang & Olufsen, Jaystrongwater, DLF Emporio offers a complete bouquet of brands to its customers all under one roof.
What’s the zoning concept at the mall?
At DLF Emporio, the zoning concept is on the basis of specific categories across fashion, lifestyle, home décor and food. It has been designed keeping in mind the overall experience of a luxury consumer. The ground and first floor locate the international brands whereas the second and third floor houses the Indian brands.
While the ground floor has all the anchor brands like Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Dior, Gucci, Cartier among many others, the first floor is dedicated to international menswear like Canali, Corneliani, Hugo Boss and lifestyle brands like Villeroy & Boch, Vertu, Bang & Olufsen being steady favourites.
The second floor is for couture designer labels like Tarun Tahiliani and Shantanu & Nikhil whereas the third floor has more ready to wear Indian brands like Namrata Joshipura, AM:PM, Ensemble and Ogaan.
What are the new brands that you are introducing this year?
Kate Spade Gold Door and Coach are launching at DLF Emporio in a few weeks’ time.
How important are food courts in new age malls? What’s different about your food court and the F&B brands at DLF Emporio?
Food Zones help in increasing the time spent by a consumer inside the mall. It gives them opportunity to visit more stores and to meet their friends and family. Our consumers’ enjoy a day out with their friends and have kitty parties at the mall on regular basis along with shopping.
We have four restaurants at DLF Emporio – Café E, Cha Shi, On the Go and SET’Z: Restaurant & Bar that cover approximately 15 per cent of the available space and offer a variety of cuisines to suit the palette of our consumers.
Let’s talk about the Family Entertainment Centre (FEC) in your mall. Why are FECs becoming an integral part of modern malls?
Malls in India are developing a new retail format wherein innovation, striking the right tenant mix, effective mall management, personal experience, bespoke services and provision of ample parking space are components that play an important role to overcome the challenges.
Malls not only need to be a place where they sell products and services but engage with the customers on a personal level to create that connect through personalization and customization.
Other services like valet, fashion consultants, bell boys, currency exchange, senior citizen zones, kids play zone, free wifi connectivity, loyalty programmes, navigation assistance etc. are all fast coming features of the malls.
Technology is advancing at a great pace in today’s day and age. What sort of technologies have you embraced and leveraged at DLF Emporio?
Luxury in its very essence thrives on exclusivity and personalized experiences. Technology, albeit impersonal, has proven to be a strong ally in the recent past and an asset that luxury brands couldn’t ignore. Also with the increase in number of Millennials in the country who use social media for gathering information around latest trends, discounts and promotions, it is imperative for us to connect with them and technology is of utmost importance.
We have thus adopted many methods to keep our customers aware of the latest offers and events at the mall through monthly e-newsletters, e-mailers, e-magazine and social media activities.
We also have our digital ‘lookbook’ that runs on LED and LCD screens across the mall showcasing latest trends and collections of our in-house brands.
Does the success of a mall depends on its location strategy?
Location is an extremely important parameter and goes a long way in deciding the kind of audience a mall will be able to attract. DLF Emporio is located at a prime location in South Delhi that caters to the right social and economic strata of people and thus attracts a strong and discerning clientele.
What does the future of retail holds for the malls of tomorrow?
The future of retail will call for increased bespoke services and a focus on the entire retail experience of a consumer. The key in retaining customers is to offer a personalized shopping experience that goes beyond their expectations and anticipates and fulfills their every desire.
India as a market has shown a steady growth when it comes to Luxury and the future of retail looks only positive. With the increase in the number of HNI’s and Millennials in the country, more and more international luxury brands are looking to open their stores in India and also expand their stores beyond metro cities.