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If you have ever visited malls in the West, you would see that they are extremely different from their Indian counterparts. There is something trendy everywhere you look, new innovations implemented cleverly and successfully. One trend which has come from the West is the Concept Store. Originally, found on high streets, concept stores are today the core of shopping malls all over the world. In India, with the explosion of e-commerce on the retail scene, malls use these re-imagined and re-engineered as a means to improvise their offerings and to rake in the footfalls. Malls or Consumer Engagement Spaces invest in experiential retail through concept stores, which are all about discovery and experience – selling a carefully curated, unique selection of products that connect to an overarching theme. Concept stores began small, with only apparel stores investing in them, but now almost every segment of the industry is experimenting. Be it F&B outlets, apparel & accessories, sports equipment stores, homewares, and even hypermarts and supermarts, they all use concept stores to test innovative ideas which optimise the customer’s journey. They offer experimental elements such as a cafés or exhibition spaces, enhancing their appeal to shoppers seeking a particular lifestyle. The August edition of the Shopping Centre News studies the impact and growth of concept stores in the Indian Shopping Mall Industry. The issue talks about mall developers’ definition of the concept store and the kind of outlets they offer to attract local shoppers. Aside from this, the edition talks about Corporate Social Responsibility and what malls are doing to abide by it since the mandatory introduction of spending on CSR brought on by the Companies Act 2013. The feature also discusses how this medium of helping society is actually becoming a consumer engagement tool, increasing brand awareness for the mall.

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