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The organized retail trend started in India in 1999 with the launch of its first ever mall called “Ansal’s Plaza” in Delhi, which was followed by “Crossroads” in Mumbai & “Spencer Plaza” in Chennai. Until the end of 2002, only three shopping malls existed in India. Post 2003, mall culture started multiplying in the metro cities. Metro cities like Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Chennai readily accepted the mall culture and the trend begun.


The next half a decade went well for the Retail-Real Estate synergy. The year 2007-08 saw huge growth rate in mall space coming up all over the country. India was hit by recession in the dusk of 2008 which in-turn hit the retail sector as well. Mall culture witnessed a slow down and mall mania became mall trauma. The tide had truly turned low for developers and retailers, who had blindly jumped into the mall business without understanding the demographics and demand. From Gurgaon to Ahmadabad, consumers were walking out of malls.

The Indian retail real estate market is only a decade & a half old and during the course it has already seen the worst phase. The down trend did teach a lot to the developers as well as the retailers. The conceptualization of a shopping mall was not like building a residential or commercial tower hence professional assistance became essential. Some other attributes which had contributed in this catastrophic story were multiple floors, High vacancy rates, Unviable Location and Poor Commercialization. The tide again started flowing towards the mall culture form 2011 onwards.

Retail – Real Estate synergy started seeing its uptrend in Metro cities from 2012 onwards. Consumers outlook towards the mall had changed from just an entertainment centre to actual shopping centre over the period of a decade. With the advent of e-commerce in 2014, the malls again started anticipating threat and strategies to attract consumers were getting more & more creative.

At this time when shopping malls are struggling to escape the vice like grip of the economic slowdown and survive the onslaught of e-commerce firms, Select CityWalk – Delhi, High Street Phoenix – Mumbai, and Express Avenue – Chennai are bucking the trend. Select CityWalk is clocking sales of INR 2,750 per square foot per month, High Street Phoenix does about INR 2,200 and Express Avenue, about INR 1,400. A mall is considered to be performing good if its average sales is between INR 900 – 1500 per square feet per month.

One of the factors that contribute to the success of the mall is “Mall Management”. Malls must go that extra mile to cater to every need of their customers. Thus the need for managing malls effectively and efficiently through SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures), is becoming the urgent need of the society and business as a whole.

The mall managers must strive for effective operations and maintenance of the entire building, infrastructure; including the services and utilities and ensure that they are used in a way that is consistent with the purpose for which they were built.

Further, mall management also helps in finding the right kind of tenants, while leasing out space to tenants.

Mall management has been identified as a critical factor for the success of malls and the retail industry across the world. Mall management broadly includes mall positioning, zoning, tenant mix, promotions/marketing and facility/finance management.

Another important factor to be considered is the Mall Layout & Customer Walk Flow Management. To be ahead in the race of attracting people and creating uniqueness, mall must focus on creating a layout which gives maximum visibility to the tenants, providing them with ample display space, tactfully & technically using the dead spaces, creating focal points to attract the customers.

As malls are turning to community centres, it becomes difficult for mall managers to control the vast number of visitors to malls. As mall entry doors cannot be closed for visitors/shoppers simply for the reason of having enough crowds. Thus mall developers must consider this aspect while planning for a mall. Traffic management includes managing foot traffic into the mall and parking facilities.

Foot traffic management involves crowd management inside the operational area of a mall. The flow of people is related to the design of the mall and the spatial distribution of its tenants. For example, a star-shaped mall tends to have a problem of crowding in the centre of the mall, as everyone has to pass through the centre while moving from one side to the other.

For instance, circular malls, as compared to usual malls, usually do not face the problem of traffic congestion because these designs tend to have better pedestrian flow and less jamming. Managing parking facilities includes provision of ample parking and management of vehicles in the parking lot.

Branding & Advertising is one of the latest trends in retail mall retail estate that vacant spaces are being used for advertising displays to promote mall, its retailers and retailers’ products. This can often be hi-tech, involving the use of digital displays, and draw the shopper’s attention to specific merchandise or promotions in a nearby store. These new promotional efforts, like corporate responsibility, add to a retailer’s cache and represent a genuine marketing advantage.

To know more about “Why shopping malls fail in India?” & “How to set-up a new mall in India?” get in touch with YRC Business Experts on [email protected]

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Author Bio

Varun Shah

Chief Finance Officer

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