Shopping centres are creating their own unique measures to combat the pragmatic competition that has arisen because of growth of e-commerce in India. While e-commerce is touted to grow mani-fold and bets big on its proposition of convenience and deep discounting, malls on the other hand, have the power of creating physical experiences for their patrons. Adopting an ‘entertainment first’ strategy is the most prominent reflection of this approach.
The idea of adding major FEC zones in malls has been gaining popularity over the last few years. Several new malls have been constructed around the country, with substantial square footage allocated to FECs. These centres can substantially extend a mall’s draw, lengthen shopper stay and even increase revenue for other tenants. Families and children are important consideration for malls because families today are seeking quality destinations that they can visit for out-of-home leisure experiences. However, retail by itself appears to no longer suffice as a draw for leisure experiences. Yes, families still come to traditional shopping centres to buy what they need, but new entertainment destinations such as urban entertainment centres and location-based entertainment centres are appearing, many with retail as a significant part of their mix. These new retail/restaurant/entertainment hybrids are capturing an increasing share of families’ limited disposable out-of-home leisure time and income.
In the cover story of this issue, we have paid ode to Indian malls that have re-invented the wheel and embraced entertainment as an important driver of relevance and profitability. Also, we have tried to do a SWOT analysis on future prospects of the FEC sector from the point of view of leading operators in this category.
This issue also contains a special focused story on ‘enhancing support services in shopping malls’. Though the equation between demand for malls and supply of space is disproportionate, it has not subdued the will of Indian mall developers to open gigantic malls across the country. With little differentiation between the brand and tenant mix, malls are coining newer and innovative ways to boost footfalls. This also calls for developing and providing support service amenities to deliver world-class shopping experiences. But, how well is this being executed? Our story explores the reality of support services in some of India’s biggest malls.
I hope you find value in the insightful and thought-provoking content in this issue. As always, we look forward to your comments and suggestions on our content and on major industry trends that are shaping the future of retail real estate in India.