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Fashion Retail: The money spinner for Indian malls

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Retail in India is an incredible assortment of formats. Over the last decade, the concept of shopping has undergone a sea change in terms of format and consumer-buying behaviour. Along with the increase in disposable income, brand consciousness, development and modernisation of infrastructure has also played a major role in defining the changing dynamics of retail spaces – especially in the fashion category.

Fashion Retail: The money spinner for Indian malls
With the fashion retail sector in the midst of a reinvention powered by technology, one thing is for sure and that is that the only limitation today’s retailers face is their own creativity

While the shopping mall may have become a complete family entertainment centre – complete with food, fun zones and cinemas – and successful malls in India have everything that a family needs for an enjoyable day out, it is the fashion and accessories sections in malls that always get the maximum attention.

Fashion has glamour and elegance. It catches attention and attraction. It won’t be wrong to say fashion is more social these days. Social media platforms like Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter have changed the entire concept of fashion and shopping.

On an average, 60 percent of a mall’s revenue is generated by its fashion stores. Currently, the fashion category occupies approximately 60 percent of mall space in India – a number that may go up as per a mall’s target audience, but never down.

Fashion Retail: The Epicenter of the Mall

Consumers of all age groups spend the maximum amount of time circling international and national clothing and accessory brands. The Millennial consumer – with his high-income level, even higher spending capacity and his shop-anytime-you-wish attitude – wants the best of fashion.

Studies show that even when consumers don’t purchase a product, the maximum time consumers spend window shopping is on the floor that houses the fashion stores. They check out new designs, trends, style and colours in order to look elegant, look smarter, up-to-date and attractive.

The past few years have seen the emergence of national-level women ethnic and fusion wear brands that are aggressively expanding across the country. Western wear brands, including fast fashion and casual wear, are also expanding rapidly due to increasing demand by consumers.

What Malls do to Highlight the Fashion Section

Smart mall developers study their target audience, see the categories that are growing in their catchment area and then pick and choose the perfect brand mix for their fashion and accessories section – an exercise which is extremely important since malls depend heavily on the revenue and footfalls that fashion brings to them. Since fashion retail is all about the customers’ preferences, space allotment to brands –value formats, lifestyle, and luxury formats – needs to be in sync with the type of people visiting a mall.

The commonest trend is to allow ground floor to the international and domestic luxury and bridge-to-luxury brands. The reason behind this is that the ground floor has the highest rentals and highest footfalls. For malls that don’t target an elite audience, international and homegrown fast fashion brands work beautifully too.

Another common trend is to exclusively allot the first floor to women’s wear brands, and the second and third floors to menswear and kids wear brands respectively. One reason for this is that despite menswear holding a major share of the apparel market at 41 percent, it’s the women’s wear segment which is growing the fastest as witnessed by the footfalls and purchase patterns.

Another reason, say mall developers that effectively, it is almost impossible to understand what the customer is exactly looking for. The likeness for design and trend can change any moment.

Fashion consumers, say mall developers, can be broadly divided into two categories – focused buyers and impulse buyers. Focused buyers are those who know exactly what they want, which store houses the product and come to the mall with the purpose and intent of buying that piece of clothing. Impulse buyers on the other hand are those who visit a mall just on a whim and then end up buying clothes that appeal to them on the spot. Both types of customers are important for retail stores and malls and to satisfy them both, mall developers ensure retailers update their designs and categories almost every month.

In Conclusion: As per a JLL report, fashion retailers will continue to command a prominent presence in Indian shopping malls. It is expected that more fashion brands will open ‘experience stores’ and newer formats and strengthen their footprint across the country.

With the fashion retail sector in the midst of a reinvention powered by technology, one thing is for sure and that is that the only limitation today’s retailers face is their own creativity. The good news for customers is that there has never been a better time to be a shopper.

IMAGES Retail Bureau spoke to the heads of some of the best malls across India to find out how important fashion retail is to these malls and why…

On the Importance of Fashion Retail in Malls

, Executive Director, Pacific Mall: Indian fashion brands are constantly reinventing themselves to evolve with the increasingly competitive retail landscape. There is now an increasing emphasis on productivity when it comes to the revenue generated per square foot in physical stores. Therefore, fashion brands are reviewing their store networks and undertaking conducting structured research when it comes to location, rentals and sales generation.

In the last decade, there has been a manifold increase in the number of malls, but the quality retail real estate space is still quite limited. Demand for right quality retail spaces in the right locations has increased significantly in recent times.

We have observed that there has been a significant rise in the number of retailers in the premium and high-end fashion segments over the last decade. Within the fashion segment, there are also variations in type and positioning of brands across various malls depending upon the location and catchment. In other words, the real estate strategies of fashion retailers are customised according to micro-markets, taking into account the shopping preferences of the potential shoppers.

Leading fashion brands are eyeing the Indian market with renewed, country-specific, localised strategies. Indian consumers are exhibiting a distinctively higher preference towards International fashion brands. There seems to be an ever increasing and growing appetite for all things fashionable. Delhi has become a growing aspirational market for international luxury and fashion brands. We are continuously seeing the more far-sighted and committed brands consolidating their position in the market by continuing to look at expansion strategies. Despite this, the Indian market has a lot of untapped potential. As the integration of the Indian consumer with global trends continues, international fashion brands can expect to find the country an increasingly fruitful ground for growth.

Currently, the fashion category occupies 45-60 percent of mall spaces in India. The past few years have seen the emergence of national-level women ethnic and fusion wear brands which are expanding aggressively across the country. Western wear brands, including fast fashion and casual wear, are also expanding rapidly due to increasing demand by consumers.

When it comes to buying something that is unique, fashionable, trendy and fancy items Pacific Mall is just the place to be. Some of the new brands that find space at the mall are Cover Story, Superdry, GAP, Armani Exchange, Mango, Dune, Hamleys, Nike, Asics, Metro Shoes,  Baggit and Arrow Sports. This augmentation comes immediately after last year’s addition of brands like Decathlon, Marks & Spencer, Max, Meena Bazaar, Steve Madden, Only and Aeropostale.

, Business Head, Lulu Malls: In 2013, when we opened the mall, we knew fashion will be the most challenging segment for us. Over the years we have been able to nurture the way Keralites view fashion by introducing them to the best in apparel, footwear and accessories. Lulu Mall has been able to transform the way Kerala shops. Being the first avenue for large scale organised retail in Kerala, which provides a complete shopping and entertainment destination value, we have been able to stay far ahead of competition across the state.

With 224 operational stores, it comes with everything that is required to whet the desire of a discerning shopper, from premium to mid-premium, branded apparels to fashion accessories and much more. We also, understand that the expectations are growing day by day, as customers and new generations are exploring the world. And so, we have been adding more International fashion to the mall.

Rajneesh Mahajan, CEO, : Fashion as a category is comparably more organized in the retail sector in India, and with apparel, shoes, bags and accessories it contributes anywhere between 60-65 percent of the monthly sales in a mall. The frequency of fashion shopping is higher. Fashion brands bring fresh merchandise every season and the fast fashion brands have even higher frequency of introducing new designs and trends. Fashion being the biggest space occupier in malls, at Inorbit, we are continuously curating our offering to bring in best in class for our patrons.

, Director, Phoenix MarketCity: Fashion plays a very important role when it comes to the mall business. Our primary target audience is the fashion and brand conscious consumers who are well versed with the latest fashion trends in the market. We bring the best mix of the international, national and regional fashion brands to cater to their needs.

The mall curates various events pertaining to fashion such as fashion shows, launch of spring summer collection and autumn winter collection, styling workshops with renowned stylists from the fashion world, a denim fest and so on. We also setup fashion related décor in the mall to generate curiosity among customers. The main objective is to make shopping a fun experience for customers. Phoenix MarketCity has always been known for keeping up with the latest trends in fashion.

Arjun Gehlot, Director, – Gurugram & Vasant Kunj: The answer would be a lot. A mall is supposed to be something that offers everything to the customers as such, but fashion is the integral part of our offering to the customers. If you want me to put a number to this, it would be around at least 80 percent related to fashion.

, CEO Prozone Intu Properties Lt: Fashion is emerging as an important and growing category in the Indian retail sector. Consumers, on an average, are buying apparel eight to ten times a year as compared to a few years ago. Fashion category forms an integral part of our malls. It is a huge driver of footfalls, and therefore, forms a large part of our retailer category. At both our centers, approximately 48 percent of our retailers are from the fashion category that includes – unisex fashion, menswear, women’s wear, kids wear & footwear.

, Executive Director, Select CityWalk: The Fashion category in the shopping centre is very important for us. It is the fastest selling and has always been the most demanding segment. Also, fashion segment is one of the reasons why people come and shop at the malls.

Sanjeev Mehra, Vice President, .: Fashion as a category is very important for the retail business in the country. Customers now do not buy clothes but invest in occasions. Formal, non-formal, evening wear, day wear, casuals etc. are all becoming part of the larger fashion statement. The world has become very connected, as what happens in New York or London flashes in seconds on our smartphones. The demands and desires that are being created are ever growing.  The consumer is a global citizen and his desire for the latest fashion and finest brands available in the world is ever evolving. In this scenario, it is extremely important to dedicate a substantial amount of area to fashion, which thereby drives revenues for the mall.

Pushpa Bector, Executive Vice President and Business Head : Apparels are the main traction for most of the retail market in India and hence, fashion becomes an extremely imperative part for the success of any mall. Same is the case with DLF Shopping Malls and we are a proud to have some of the biggest Fashion stores such as Zara, H& M and Forever 21. We give high importance to fashion, as our shoppers are extremely aware and conscious of major global fashion trends.

Rima Pradhan, Sr. Vice President, Marketing, : Fashion is a very demanding sector. Paucity of time is one problem that customer face. They want to do everything in one go and one place and hence Viviana Mall has zoned itself in such a way that a customer knows exactly where he/she will find a particular category of product in the mall. At the same time, we have provided digital touch screens at all entry points and on all floors so that a customer can easily locate each and every brand in the mall without any assistance.

Manmohan Bagree, Vice President, : Fashion is the most important category in a shopping mall and occupies 70 percent of the leasing. We have encouraged and tried to provide maximum latest fashion brands (Aspirational) in our mall for the shoppers.

Mukesh Kumar, Senior VP, Infiniti Malls: Fashion is a very important segment for us. We have recently added new brands like Columbia, W, Asics, Croma, Cadini and Beligan Waffle to name a few. This is an ongoing process and brands are regularly added to make sure the mall stays fresh.

On How Much Space Is Allotted to Fashion Retail

Shibu Philips: Lulu Mall primarily caters to the premium and mid-premium brands in all categories. Ground floor gives an exposure to international brands which include watches (luxury), beauty, fashion, etc (premium brands). In the first floor one sees a good collection of premium brands in men’s, women’s & unisex fashion. If one walks through the second floor of the mall, they will be able to see kids fashion, value, accessories and sports brands.

Rajneesh Mahajan: The Fashion segment as a whole covers apparel, accessories, footwear and is the largest occupier of space, followed by entertainment, F&B and electronics. At Inorbit, we have allocated around 60-65 percent space for the fashion segment which includes fashion anchors,apparel, footwear and accessories. In the recent past, the allocation for F&B has increased and more space is given to this category, may be taking it up to 15 percent of the mall space.

Gajendra Singh Rathore: 35 percent of the total mall trading area is occupied by the fashion brands. We have specially divided fashion into various sub categories such as General Fashion, Kid’s Fashion, Men’s Fashion, Women’s Fashion, Foot Fashion, Bags, Luggage & Accessories and Watches, Jewellery & Fashion Accessories. The upper ground floor of the mall comprises only of exclusive premium fashion brands where customers have a wide range of options to choose from such as Zara, Lifestyle, Marks and Spencer, GAP, GAS, Steve Madden, Sephora, Mac, Nautica, Gant and many more.

Arjun Gehlot: See we specifically follow the concept of zoning very seriously in both of our properties, so according to that, we have international brands on the ground floor. The women brands are collected and are accommodated in one area of the mall. Likewise, we have categories on every floor, which makes shopping very easy for the customers. There is a mix of everything. Indian brands are also coming to be at par with the international brands that we have. So, it’s more about what the customers want. The taste and demand of the customer also varies from different parts of the city and it is very essential to understand it. At the end of the day, its more about market research and customer choice. For example, the customer is very different in Gurugram, Delhi and Noida in brackets of style, fashion, price and purchase. So, a mall has to understand the needs of the people coming to it. We select the brands accordingly.

Bipin Gurnani: In terms of space – almost 56 percent of our anchors, mini anchors and line shops fall under the fashion category thus the area contribution of fashion category retailers is high in our malls.

Yogeshwar Sharma: Approximately 40 percent of the shopping centre is filled with apparel brands, bags, footwear and accessory brands, both in terms of the covered area and number of stores. The maximum weightage is given to this segment as it not only is the highest in demand but also compliments the rest of the brands that we have at Select CityWalk.

Sanjeev Mehra: 27 percent of the total space is allotted to this segment. This is primarily driven by women’s wear which is in the ratio 60 percent women and 40percent men. It is also spread across luxury, aspirational brands of bridge to luxury and the national premium brands.

Abhishek Bansal: About 60 percent is allotted to Fashion.

Pushpa Bector: The wide fashion category including ethnic, apparels -Men / women / unisex, Sportswear, Eyewear, Kids, Lingerie & Shoes/Bags, watches, Jewellery accounts for 40-50 percent of the total built up area of the mall.

Rima Pradhan: About 50 percent is allocated to fashion. Both – International as well as domestic brands have their own importance. All have a unique brand proposition which helps them to co-exist together in a mall. Space allocation depends on the requirement by the brand and its demand. There are instances where a homegrown brand has occupied more space than an international brand.

On How Much Revenue Fashion Retail Generates for Malls

Abhishek Bansal: About 60 percent of the revenue is generated from Fashion at the Pacific Mall.

Shibu Philips: People here spend more than 70 percent on fashion & lifestyle. The trend towards fashion is currently good and therefore, we have been adding more international fashion to the mall.

Rajneesh Mahajan: Fashion as a category contributes approx. 70 percent of the total monthly sales.

Gajendra Singh Rathore: Approximately 40 percent of the total mall average revenue is contributed by fashion brands which is the highest among all categories in the mall. Anchor brands like Zara, Lifestyle, Marks and Spencer and Pantaloons do very well in this regard.

Arjun Gehlot: As 80 percent of our space is allocated to fashion, so lot of revenue is generated from it. I won’t be able to disclose the exact amount, but I would say the majority chunk is generated from the fashion. It’s a healthy growth that we can see.

Bipin Gurnani: The fashion category contributes almost 62-65 percent of the total sales generated in our centres.

Yogeshwar Sharma: Over 35 percent of revenue is generated from the fashion segment at Select CityWalk.

Sanjeev Mehra: 32 percent of the total revenue is generated from the Fashion category in Quest Mall.

Pushpa Bector: 60 percent of the total revenue is generated from this segment at DLF malls.