During the times of major shift in retail landscape, when e-commerce players are re-inventing themselves, shopping malls have been the least affected retail destinations, given their constant revamping strategies. Brand mix is the pull-factor for consumers these days, says Abhishek Bansal, Executive Director, Pacific Mall in a candid conversation with Retailer. Bansal also spoke about the resized and revised spacing happening at shopping centres.
How has the retail mix changed you and which categories have been altered?
A lakh sq. ft. of area has changed in last one year thus accounting for a 20 per cent change in the whole mix of the mall, which I would call ‘extraordinary’ because to churn out such area in an operational mall is a task.
We had rigorous interaction with tenants on how we can reduce and shift area. The other big alter is the change in the sales. In the past one year, we have grown by almost 20 per cent. I would not pinpoint on one particular category, rather this growth has taken place across the categories from food to entertainment, cinema to fashion apparel.
How has Indian consumer behaviour changed over the years and what do they now expect from malls?
I wouldn’t say that we have witnessed ups and downs, as the similar amount of people are walking into the mall, and the spent per person has increased, which is a positive sign. But the difference is when the people start spending in malls.
When we think of our consumer, the major change they want is in brand mix. So 70-80 per cent of the changes should be offering new brand to the customers, which of course has been there. Besides, we have done a lot of renovation right from restrooms to lobby areas. We have done a lot of activities in the past one year, be it Diwali or Christmas (when we created Eiffel Tower), and received a great response from our customers.
We have got Aeropostale, Decathlon, Pantaloons Women, Landmark Group’s Max Fashion, Steve Madden. In food, we have added Chaayos, Cafe Delhi Heights, Jamie’s Pizzeria, Twelve am:pm, etc.
What all brands have been shifted?
Jumbo Electronics moved out, electronics as a category has been majorly hit by e-commerce. And we placed Pantaloons Women there. We reduced some area from hypermarkets and placed Max Fashion and Decathlon, and moved out few other brands to make way for Jamie’s Pizzeria and Cafe Delhi Heights.
What is the biggest crowd-puller in a mall – food court, shopping, entertainment, or any other?
Fashion, of course, has been the most successful category, and Lifestyle store has been our frontrunner. Zara has been doing phenomenal business, Forever 21 and Marks Spenser’s are doing great. Kids wear is also growing as a category. Decathlon is one of the anchor tenants with 15,000 sq. ft. store.
What percentage of your mall is being occupied by international retailers and how is it likely to change in the near future?
International brands consist 30 per cent of our brand mix. In future, the retail mix would be an amalgamation of national and international brands because just being international doesn’t mean that you will also get the numbers in terms of sales. We try to follow the balance, where we know that the brands coming will suit catchment.
How do the catchment demographics dictate the retail mix?
Demographics, of course, play a huge role and when we look at this catchment of Tagore Garden, Rajouri Garden, Janakpuri, this is densely populated and the customers are different from those at our other malls at Dehradun and Ghaziabad. The mix in Dehradun is fairly national, with a mix from north India and rest of the nation, while here at Delhi, we get a lot of local people. Retail mix has to be a balanced process. We provide what people look what, the other what we think is people will aspire to buy. So, we put both kinds of brands along with the brands that are already popular.