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Key to Becoming a Big Billion Mall in India

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Few malls can clock Rs 100 crore turnover per month to become members of the elite big billion club. Here’s what they do differently…

Bengaluru: Only 28 out of 1,000 malls in India have managed to join the exclusive billion-rupee club, as per leaders from the industry at the Phygital Retail Convention 2024. A mall that reports a gross turnover of Rs 100 crore per month or Rs 1,200 crore per annum is known as a Big Billion mall. India has approximately 1,000 malls, with around 600 registered under the Shopping Center Association of India (SCAI). Yet,only a few have achieved the distinction to be called a Big Billion Mall.

In Bengaluru, only three malls meet this benchmark, while Mumbai, with around 40 malls in total, has just five that meet the criterion. Chennai, home to 35 malls, sees only two reaching this revenue level. Similarly, Delhi boasts five high-earning malls, and Hyderabad has three. High Street Phoenix, Forum South Bengaluru, Sarath’s City Capital Mall, DLF Mall of India, Select CityWalk are some of the centres that hold this honour.

Ingredients to Success

The three factors which are critical to the success of a mall are:

  • Location
  • Size
  • Brand mix

However, getting all three right, does not guarantee entry into the elite club. “Take the example of three malls in Saket, New Delhi. Out of the three, the mall placed in the centre reaches the big billion mark the fastest and is almost touching Rs 200 crores sale in a month,” said V Muhammad Ali, CEO, Forum Malls, Prestige Group.

“This means the location theory is not a surety to make it to the big-billion club. Similarly, the size of a mall is not a sure-shot success mantra, as we have seen several million square feet malls getting shut. Moreover, every single mall has international brands, but they are not in the billion club. So even this factor is not the sure-shot formula,” added Ali.

Sharing his take on the right ingredients for success Pankaj Renjhen, chief operating officer of Anarock, said, “Many mall developers simply replicate others’ strategies. However, even successful global brands have closed stores in some malls in India, proving that brand presence alone does not guarantee sales. Developers must thoroughly analyse market needs, devise a strategy, implement it effectively, and continue to adapt.”

Relevance Matters

More than the number of brands and their origin, what matters most as per experts is their relevance. “Any area will experience significant shopping activity, regardless of whether there is a mall. The focus should be on how relevant the brands are to the consumers in that area,” explained Yogeshwar Sharma, Chief of Leasing & Business Development at DLF Retail.

According to him, malls often lag behind in terms of supply compared to customers’ awareness and evolution. And direction and patience are crucial. “One must have the patience to navigate initial challenges and adapt to consumer habits. For instance, Mall of India in Noida, took longer but with the right direction and patience, it succeeded,” Sharma said.

A Club-member’s Perspective

At Sarath’s City Capital Mall in Hyderabad, with its expansive retail space of 19.3 lakh sq. ft. and each floor spanning 2.7 lakh sq. ft., the incorporation of local flavour and culture has been key to its entry into the billion-rupee club.

“Every mall includes essential elements like hypermarkets, department stores, multiplexes, and food courts, along with the necessary brands. We did something unique in our mall. We were selective about the brands we wanted and adhered to our initial plan, waiting for those specific brands to join us,” explained Syed Mohammed Aslam, MD of Skill Promoters at Sarath’s City Capital Mall.

“We enhanced our offering by incorporating local flavour. We focused on the dwell time of our customers, catering to all age groups and various segments. Visitors to our mall often spend 6-7 hours, and we aim to maximise their shopping and overall experience during their time here,” he added.

Retailers’ Stance

Pramod Arora, chief executive officer of PVR Inox, highlighted the factors that set billion-club malls apart. He emphasised three key principles: “For the past 25 years, we have followed the ‘Developer Location Development (DLD)’ process,” he said explaining that a good location alone is not enough; success requires a combination of a competent developer, a strategic location, and thoughtful development.

“The second principle is ‘Intention Finance Land (IFL)’. If a developer has the right intentions and financial backing, securing land for development becomes easier. Reversing this order leads to failure. The third principle is CCC: customer, customer, customer.

Keeping the customer at the center is crucial,” he explained. According to Arora, if a developer focuses on facilities and attractions that engage and excite customers, the mall will attract its audience. “Resilience is also vital; developers must be resilient in their initiatives, evolving and progressing with time,” he said.

Sharing his insight Shubhranshu Pani, Fund Manager AIF (India) at Treta Advisors, said, “Malls in the billion-club have a meticulous understanding and attention to detail. They know the brands they want and are patient in acquiring them. They also anticipate future trends and make proactive decisions. The key to success is continuous improvement and daily commitment.”

Previously published in the June 2024 issue of Images Retail magazine

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