In search of new retail destinations

After airports, retailers have started picking hospitals as their suited destination for store openings.
In search of new destinations


In their search to reach out to the customers wherever they are, brands and companies have moved beyond the typical mall or high streets. First it was Airports, then Metro stations and now hospitals. The Delhi domestic-cum-international terminal (T3) has a retail area larger than most malls.

With 3,25,000 square feet of retail space it is also be India’s largest airport retail offer. Apart from top Indian brands, eateries and service providers, global biggies like Versace, WH Smith, Swarovski and HagenDaz are setting shop at T3. The GMR-led airport consortium will follow a business model in which there's greater stress on revenue share rather than just rentals.

Recently, Rapid Metro Rail Gurgaon Line has announced two of its station to be branded as Vodafone and Micromax stations. Apart from this the metro stations in Bangalore have been built keeping in mind the need for retail spaces at metro stations.

Search for customers is still on and brands have picked up hospitals as the new destination to connect with their customers. Fortis Memorial Research Institute (FMRI) which has opened its new centre in Gurgaon has positioned itself as the next generation hospital. The hospital has initiated a singular concept – Retail Therapy, to innovate change from the ordinary. The Hospital has 19 retail stores. Chicco, Reebok, Chocoberry , Titan Eye Plus, Bouncing Baby and Mom & Me are a few to be named. The outlets have range from clothing and equipments for babies and toddlers to healthy yogurt to fitness products to eye wear are available in the hospital premises itself, providing a feeling of ease and comfort devoid of panic at the time of emergency.

It’s one more way we are trying to engage the patient and family in the hospital to which possibly help reduce boredom and also provide a hub where necessities is just a few steps away. The retail therapy intends to rejuvenate the moods of the hospital's patient or expecting mothers or their families. Moreover this also takes away the mundane feeling one gets when admitted to a hospital.

Will it work?

The question is, will this concept work? Hospitals in India give a picture of sickness all around. Sad and worried faces with a gloomy atmosphere – that is how we recall a view from a hospital. With such a perception one would not want to move into a hospital premises to shop or to hangout. But Rajeev Bhandari, Head – Commercial Alliances, FMRI is confident about this new concept, “This is primarily for the attendants of the patients in the hospital. Mostly they are bored and are hardly engaged. We already have a captive target audience which demands for such a concept to emerge. Adding to this, FMRI, Gurgaon does not give you a feel of a hospital. We have replaced the word sickness with wellness with which you can associate a hospital.”

Adding to his view he said, “Stores like Organic Haus and Mom & Me are better suited to this environment as the first time you feel the need for such store is most likely be a hospital.”

The alliance with the hospital is on the profit sharing basis which is slightly more for the food and beverages segment. There are 10 FNB stores whereas nine other utility stores in the hospital. Apart from this there is small theatre, Spa and swimming pool facility as well.

The intent to reach out to the customers has driven these retailers to airports, metro stations and now hospital. This seems to be a good move for the attendants and the retailers as well. The story is so far so good for the stores which have started their operations in these off-stream emerging retail destinations. 

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