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Sales and retail leasing rental will reach new heights in 2023: Sunil Munshi of Orion Malls

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The brand aims to innovate more on the F&B concepts and Family Entertainment Centers (FEC) going forward

For Orion, the key to enhance online and offine revenues will be consumer data analytics and in-store experiences. The brand aims to innovate more on the F&B concepts and Family Entertainment Centers (FEC) going forward. Sunil Munshi, vice president, retail, Orion Malls (Brigade Group) interacted with Images Group about the expansion plans of the brand. 


Going forward, where do you see the Indian real estate industry in the coming year? 

The real estate industry has been witnessing healthy traction with double digit growth and the momentum is likely to continue in the coming year. Organised players are getting a larger share of the market and the top developers are having their best performance years yet. The residential sector is booming due to pent-up demand and buyers are lining up for completed homes and plotted developments despite the increase in interest rates and prices.

Malls too have witnessed upward growth driven by increased demand for retail space. Traditional retail spaces are becoming increasingly popular nationwide as millennial consumers still prefer the physical shopping experience which provides a touch and feel experience. The positive sentiment in the retail sector is driven by aggressive expansions by all the key brands in new markets beyond Tier I cities. Many international brands are entering India. Shopping malls across India are observing high occupancy levels, and new records are expected to be set in 2023 due to a spike in retail space demand.

What factors do you think will be the game changers for the industry in the coming years? 

Majority of brands are looking at providing customers with a unique shopping experience by focusing on aspects of digital transformation at their stores. They are keen to find new ways to drive revenue and create innovative business models and introduce digital initiatives like (Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Trial Rooms, Chatbots for Customer Support, Smart Shelves etc.) within their store to enhance the shopping experience.

Creating memorable experiences be it in the shopping mall or in the stores will be the game changer going forward. Using technology to enable a better consumer experience is the key. Consumer data analytics will be key to enhancing revenues online and in-store experiences will be key to enhancing revenues offline. There will be huge demand for innovative Family entertainment centers (FEC’s) and F&B concepts.

Share the vision for your mall in the coming year, elaborating on the brand growth and ambitions related to this? 

Our vision is to further strengthen Orion Malls as a premier destination for a superior mall experience by creating an ambience that is positive and inviting for the relevant catchment areas. The vision is to set the benchmark for mall experiences in the country. Over the last two years, the retail segment has seen a sharp recovery and we have witnessed increasing footfalls in our malls. Owing to upbeat market sentiment, and the retail space demand, we believe that retail sales and retail leasing rental will reach new heights by the end of 2023.

Three tech implements which you want to introduce in your mall in the coming year? And why so?

In order to provide our customers with a breath of clean and fresh air, we are implementing a 3-tiered advanced air purification system which will help us to attain WHO standard clean air quality across all our malls. This nanotechnology and UV light-based air-filtration systems guarantee a worry-free experience at the mall in these trying times. 

Video analytics for security in the mall is also crucial since we have been hitting record numbers in footfalls. 

Lastly, sensors to monitor customer patterns – where they stop, where they move within a store and within the mall are necessary to improve performance of each part of the mall.

Three consumer experiences which you want to introduce in the coming years? 

We plan to incorporate a lot of art within the mall – be it paintings or sculptures or art displays. We plan to make the visual merchandising of the stores very futuristic. 

We will also be launching the ‘Orion Mall Gift Card’, which will be acceptable across all the stores in our malls. We will also be introducing a Mall Loyalty Program, which will unite all the brands and create a common loyalty program with interdependent point earn-and-burn mechanics. Shoppers can earn points when they buy at the store or use services in the mall and then use these points to redeem partnership rewards.

New stores in the pipeline in the coming months? 

Some of the stores which will be launching their stores in the coming months are: Bombay Brasserie, Bounce INC (Trampoline Park), Crosswords, Royce Chocolate, Forever New and Decathlon. 

This article first appeared in Shopping Centre News magazine January 2023 Issue. 


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