Quality stands out in competition

Mr Neeraj Duggal, Vice President, Retail Infrastructure, Prestige Group, in a discussion with the Retailer; speaks about various mall projects of the company



Retailer: How do define the company?

Neeraj Duggal (ND): Prestige Estates Projects Pvt. Ltd, the flagship company of the $ 2 billion (approximately Rs 80 billion) Prestige Group, has revolutionised the design aesthetics of Bangalore with its stylistic and pan-global buildings. And like its mascot, the falcon-company keeps soaring ever higher in India’s booming real estate space. Prestige Group started construction and real estate development more than 25 years ago. We have been credited with providing landmarks to the city and redefining its skyline.  All our commercial and residential properties are testimony to the quality of our work as well as commitment to excellence. We have stood by certain qualities, which have distinguished us from the competition.


Retailer: What are the projects of the company?

ND:  We have several projects in the commercial and residential space in Bangalore while others are coming up in place like Chennai and Cochin. The Forum is our mall brand. The Forum is operational now in Koramangala while the Eva mall is being re-structured. Two more Forums are coming up in Bangalore and a few more in other parts of South India. By 2010, we plan to have 10 Forums across India. 


Retailer: What is the USP of these malls?

ND: The USP of The forum brand is that it offers a complete experience with planned trade mix in terms of shopping, entertainment and F&B. We believe that sustaining a mall is as much important as making one or perhaps more. Therefore, a professional mall management is an important ingredient for the success of the mall.


Retailer: What are the priorities observed in your malls?

ND:  We believe in focusing on the consumer and also want to do justice to retailers. While designing, leasing and operating, we keep in mind that malls are people-led, not real estates. Hence, our planning is such that consumers have a great experience. 


Retailer: Which brands do you have tenants?

ND:  All the 75 tenants that we have at The forum in Koramangala include leading brands across FMCG, apparel, jewellery, accessories and entertainment.


Retailer: Do you deliver your malls on the scheduled time?

ND:  We have always completed our projects on time and believe that the upcoming projects will also be completed on time. We start talking to tenants only when the plans are finalised and approved. Malls in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Cochin and Mangalore are in the final stages of approval and once the work starts, the target dates would be met.


Retailer: Are you looking to pan-India presence?

ND: Yes, we are planning to have a pan-India presence. But, we would like initially to consolidate in South India. Pan-India expansion will be carried out thereafter. 


Retailer: What is the success mantra for a shopping mall?

ND: The success mantra, if there is such a thing, is to get the mix of tenants right, plan well and also execute with the intention of creating something unique and focus on quality. The rest will follow. ‘Design for congregation, consumption will happen.’


 Retailer: What do you suggest against failure of malls?

ND: I believe that if the tenant mix is right and the planning is good; chances of failure are minimal. While making a mall is a science as well as an art, it is definitely not a rocket science. If the fundamentals are right, success is inevitable. When you design a standard mall, you profile the catchment, build for congregation– have an attractive trade mix, facilities. And don’t ignore demographics needs.  


Retailer: What is your opinion on mixed-use malls?

ND:  Malls with ground plus three levels rarely consume the FSI available. This will be the future trend and has been seen in S E Asia. This does not mean that the malls are losing their identity or purpose. 


Retailer:  How do you see the future of shopping malls in India?

ND: If the retail is to grow at 10 per cent year on year, the share of organised retail will, from its current three per cent level, will rise to 13 per cent. (from Rs 40,000 crore to 2,40,000 crore). If the average per sq.ft sales can be assumed at Rs 10,000, then, from the current 40 million sq.ft, we will need 240 million sq.ft of quality retail infrastructure. Bangalore is experiencing about 40 per cent growth in retail space and there is a huge demand for shopping malls, which offer quality customer experience.

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