Emphasises on design, unique solutions

Mr I.S.Narula, President and CEO, Ishanya, gives an account of various aspects of his mall to the Retailer


Retailer: What was the inspiration behind Ishanya mall?

I.S.Narula: The promoters found that it was very difficult to get material for the bungalow they were building in Pune. For the interior and exterior material, they had to travel across the world, visiting various design centres.  That is when we felt that it was time to introduce an Indian version of the design centre concept.

The findings of the market survey conducted by ICICI Property Services and Knight Frank (India) Pvt. Ltd indicated that there was an urgent need to have a speciality mall-cum-design centre considering the then level of construction activity in western Maharastra. Pune was considered an ideal location for such a mall. Therefore, the original inspiration was reinforced by market reality and this led to the idea of Ishanya.  

Retailer: What are the salient features of the mall?

ISN: Set in a 10-acre campus with 5.5 lakh sq.ft built-up area, Ishanya showcases 52 product and service categories for homes, offices and commercial establishments. Some of these categories include furniture and related items for home and office, floor coverings, tiles, kitchen fittings, lighting equipments and electrical fittings, linen and home décor.

It offers facilities like amphitheatre, exhibition spaces, seminar rooms and art galleries. It has tie-ups with Institute of Indian Interior Designers and the Confederation of Construction Products and Services.

Retailer: Which are the prominent brands in the mall and who are the anchor tenants?

ISN: Ishanya will not just be a collection of existing brands and stores that are available in various parts of the city, but will have tenants that emphasises on design or offers unique solutions for customer convenience. We have reserved 15 per cent of the space for companies based abroad. Our target is to lease out only 85 per cent of space before opening. Over 76 per cent of the space has already been leased to the best Indian and global brands. HomeSolutions, Armstrong, Bose, Carmichael House, Dorma, Fab India, Fenesta, Nerolac, Pidilite, Quetzel, Merryfair, @Home, Hettich, Croma, Usha International, Osim, Stanley Boutique, Liberty Whiteware, Haworth etc. are already there.

Home Solutions Ltd, one of Ishanya’s major anchors, with nearly one lakh sq.ft of leased area, is a Pantaloon Group company and will offer first flagship Home Town store at Ishanya. The Home Town format will bring its entire range of offerings to Ishanya.

Retailer: How have the preferences of Indian shoppers changed with the passage of time?

ISN: Richer, younger and aspirational group have come up during the past few years. Youth forms a huge consumer base with a culture of escalating consumerism fuelled by the desire for better life, experience and possessions. The IT/BPO boom also plays its role in the growth of new class consumers who have adequate disposable incomes.

Entry of global retailers has brought more awareness to consumers who are brand-conscious. With higher consumer propensity, there has been a steady climb in lifestyle and leisure goods. With this, there has been shift in consumer behavior from price consideration to design and quality.


Retailer: What is the USP of Ishanya mall?

ISN: Ishanya is a destination mall. The concept itself is its USP. Ishanya is the first of its kind. It is India’s largest international design centre and specialty mall for interiors and exteriors.

Retailer: What measures do you undertake to ensure safety and security?

ISN: This involves enormous investments: monetary investments as well as investment in terms of idea, vision and hard work. Therefore, great efforts have been made to ensure that everything is all right when Ishanya is opened. Once Ishanya is operational, it will have a sophisticated fire detection system, fire-fighting systems/sprinklers, CCTV, access control and so on. In fact, Ishanya will implement intelligent building systems that will result in both functional safety as well as energy conservation.

Retailer: Who is your target consumer and what steps are you taking to ensure that retailers get good conversions?

ISN: Ishanya will be open for all those who love good design and are serious about the design business. It is targeted at professionals in the architecture, interior and construction industries for whom this could be a centre for project decisions. Ishanya is also for the retail customers who could take decisions concerning their home and its decorator. People coming to Ishanya will be focused visitors – specifiers, project buyers, architects, interior designers, decision-makers and of course homeowners. By day, Ishanya will host seminars, conferences, workshops and more. At night, Ishanya will transform into the cultural hub of Pune, featuring exhibitions, cultural events and more. This is sure to meet the requirements of the art and culture community in Pune and Western India. The events will be designed to match target the audience’s tastes and preferences. Obviously, all this will imply quality footfalls and greater business opportunities.

Retailer: What dominant trends will prevail in the coming years?

ISN: By the end of 2007 organised retail will grow from the present share of 2.8 per cent to around 4.5 per cent. Organised retailing will emerge as a trend, which covers tier II cities and rural areas all over India. Also, discount retailing and speciality retailing will emerge as combined force in retailing industry.

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