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Malls are getting bigger, shifting from transactional centres to community centres

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Malls are expanding in size, which is reshaping the consumer dynamics, say industry experts speaking at the Phygital Retail Convention (PRC) 2024

Bengaluru: These days, developers are constructing much larger malls, shifting away from traditional transactional shopping centres towards multifaceted community hubs where people unite to celebrate, according to retail leaders speaking on the day one of Phygital Retail Convention (PRC) 2024 held at the Jio World Convention, Mumbai on Wednesday.

Gaurav Sachdeva, retail head – exclusive brand outlet (EBO) and shop-in-shop (SIS), Bestseller India said that, over the past few years, there’s been a noticeable trend towards increased consolidation in mall ownership. Simultaneously, malls are expanding in size, which is reshaping consumer dynamics. Furthermore, malls are transitioning into experiential centres rather than mere shopping destinations. 

“From an environmental standpoint, omnichannel strategies are exerting a significant influence. Malls are evolving beyond mere shopping hubs, also serving as fulfilment centres for surrounding areas to a certain extent,” added Sachdeva.

PRC 2024
L-R: Sourav Talukdar, Sr. Manager – BD, Page Industries (Jockey); Sachin Damle, Director – Real Estate, Hardcastle Restaurants (McDonalds West & South);Neerav Sejpal, VP – BD, Spencer’s & Nature’s Basket; Gaurav Sachdeva, Retail Head – EBO and SIS, Bestseller India

Neerav Sejpal, vice president – business development at Spencer’s Retail, a company which operates 135 Spencer’s supermarkets and 25 gourmet food chain Nature’s Basket outlets across the country, has commented on the evolving selection of supermarkets within malls.

“Shopping centres have experienced a paradigm shift over the past 15-20 years. .Previously, malls were restricted to large supermarkets, but now there’s a trend towards smaller, non-conventional supermarket options. Additionally, there’s been a notable increase in the size of malls, with a departure from rigid zoning to a more flexible approach,” said Neerav.

Sourav Talukdar, senior manager – business development at Page Industries which owns the fashion brand Jockey, discussed the innovative advantages present in new malls, contributing to enhanced consumer experiences and increased footfall. He said a big chunk of its stores are located in shopping centres.

“Jockey currently operates 1,335 stores, with 30% situated in malls and 70% in high street locations, reflecting its status as an essential brand. Placing our stores in malls grants us the advantage of zoning, yielding tremendous benefits across both our innerwear and outerwear categories, which account for 51% and 49% respectively. In high street locations, it may take some time to build footfall, whereas in malls, foot traffic is immediate from day one,” said Talukdar.

“From a technological standpoint, new malls boast seamless parking solutions integrated with payment gateways. They also feature touch screen interfaces at mall entrances, facilitating easy navigation for consumers to locate stores with just a single touch,” he added.

The leaders were part of the session titled “Navigating Retail Realities: Old vs. New Mall Dynamics,” which also saw the participation of Sachin Damle, director – real estate, Hardcastle Restaurants for McDonalds West and South.

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