Talking to IMAGES Retail Bureau on the sidelines of India Fashion Forum 2018, Anuj Puri, Chairman – ANAROCK Property Consultants, says retailers who are the fittest and who are able to come up to the mark and deliver the revenue numbers that they have promised the mall developers, continue to stay and survive. He adds that those who fail to do this are unfortunately asked to exit the malls.
Tell us how the Indian retail industry is shaping up?
This is the fantastic time for the Indian retail segment, not only in the phenomenal GDP growth and consumerism that is happening but also, we are seeing a number of new formats coming in from Indian retailers as well as international retailers. Clearly, I feel this is a golden era of retail – something that we have seen after a very long time in the Indian retail industry.
Having said that, there is one concern that we are not able to get as many developers to construct new malls despite the fact that Indian retailers are now demanding more space.
Whilst it is a golden era as far as retailers are concerned – given at the propensity to spend by Indian consumer – at the same time they are being challenged since fewer new malls restricts retailers’ ability to expand into new stores. This unfortunately will hinder growth over the next two-three years and if retailers are not able to find good, organised retail spaces to add new stores, it will deeply impact their revenue margins.
What does the future of retail hold in India?
The future of retail continues to remain exceptionally positive in India especially since the goods story is very positive. If this continues to remain positive and we start to get into US $3 trillion over the next 3-4 years as an economy, you are going to see the retail industry continuing to prosper.
Businesses will mature as newer, international retailing formats make their way into India. We will continue to see a lot of the foreign retailers coming in either in partnership or subsidiaries in India because it is a large market. So, I remain very enthusiastic about the retail sector, as do retailers. Hopefully this will encourage more mall developers to come forth and build new spaces as well.
As retail spaces are comparatively lower than the demand, what is the future of retail brands in India?
In 2016, we saw that there were more number of malls that were shut down than the number of malls that opened. So clearly, there was a negative supply.
However, 2017 has been a better year as far as the supply is concerned.
Today, mall owners are smarter, and they are churning tenants faster. At the end of lease periods they are letting go of tenants who are unable to contribute to revenues and growth in the mall, the retailers who are not able to hit the right numbers. This happens internationally, and this is happening in India too.
It is the survival of the fittest because those retailers who are the fittest and who are able to come up to the mark and deliver the revenue numbers that they have promised the mall developers, continue to stay and survive and those who fail are unfortunately asked to exit the malls.
Which category will perform the best in retail? And do you see any new categories evolving?
All the categories will continue to do best be it fashion, entertainment or food. I think what you will see is food doing perhaps better than some of the other categories. It is now dominating in many of the malls, and it is also becoming very experiential.
Malls owners are also leaning towards more food offerings because it does de-list them from the online slot of the retail. Also, mall owners use three senses of consumers to draw them in – taste, smell and sound. This holds true for the entertainment segment as well. Indians are very appetite sensitive and new food outlets in mall draw them. So, in the near future you may see this category go further than some of the others.
As per you, when compared to the global scenario, where is India lacking in retail?
India is not lacking in anything, but a lot more needs to done in terms of retail maturity. Newer retail formats need to come in and the relationship between retailers and mall developers needs to grow more.