Shopping malls unofficially or officially are the heart and soul of the communities as well as the foundation of retail economies. For decades, the shopping mall has been the center point of attraction, due to the availability of brands, services and experiences. Consumers today visit malls for all these factors and just not traditional shopping. COVID-19 has had one of the most severe impacts in history on the Retail and
Shopping Centre Industries worldwide and the resultant lockdowns and the consumption story globally and in India has gone down several notches. As a result, mall developers and retailers at one point had to come forward and had to accelerate and strategise their collaboration to catch up to the new consumption demands and trends of the consumers.
In a session of Phygital Retail Convention – NEXUS Dialogue partnered by Nexus Malls – Amitabh Taneja, Chairman, Shopping Centres Association of India (SCAI) and Bijou Kurien, Chairman, Retailers Association of India (RAI) discuss how can this consumption be accelerated.
The topic of discussion, under the DUETS track at the convention, was ‘Shopping Centres and Retailers: Accelerating Collaboration to Co-Build India’s Consumption Story’.
EXCERPTS FROM THE CONVERSATION:
Amitabh Taneja: Shopping centres are the infrastructure of modern retail and COVID has sped up the collaboration that shopping centre and retailers should work together for consumption. What’s your thought on this collaboration? How should we take this forward?
Bijou Kurien: COVID has been the catalyst for having these engaging discussions. Prior to this shopping centres were in one direction and retailers were in another direction and as shopping centres thought they have met their business objectives, they were quite happy and retailers thought they had met their store objectives, they were also quite happy. However, at the end of the day, who are we serving? We are actually serving a customer and at times, we end up thinking that we are serving the banks or the company. Shopping centre is a physical structure in a certain location and being in that location, it is serving a certain community which is all around it. So, the community has certain expectations and these expectations are – it is convenient, it is a nice socially engaging location, it is a place where they get products and services, it is a place where they go and spend some time when they have to complete the chore of shopping. It is important that both retailers and shopping centres should think together about how they serve the needs of the community in which they are located. Shopping centres have a catchment which can extend up to 10 kms and they by size are designed to cater to a larger catchment. There should be alignment in the thinking between both retailers in that shopping centre and the shopping centre itself – how do we actually cap the opportunity this catchment in which community exists. That is the basic thought on which we should start. If we start from the thought – what is my rent, will the store make money, who are the people who are going to be populating my mall, what is the rent that I can get out of them and what is the monthly yield that I am going to get and will it be able to service my debt obligations – then you are not thinking about the community and the customers.
Amitabh Taneja: How will this partnership work? In my opinion, RAI and SCAI should work together and create a model of the working of this collaboration.
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