Between 2008 and 2018, India witnessed the onset of over 800+ Malls, Shopping Centres and Plazas all over the country in various shapes, sizes and formats including leased and sold-out model. What began as a rage after the Lehman Crisis in 2008 went on to become a real estate roll out across Mega cities, Metros and even in Tier 3/4 towns in the remotest corner of the country. However, by 2015, the Mall developments and expansions not only came down significantly but also matured with international players and Private Equity Investors entering the fray, while homegrown Real Estate Giants such as DLF, Prestige, Brigade and others upping the ante, rolling out a better modelled Mall than their own previous creations. Some Malls converted the entire building to become an Office space or even a hospital. Even though the going was getting tougher, Mall developers designed newer models including multi-use developments to include shopping, dining,, entertainment, lodging (Service Apartments) and of course, commercial office spaces. Due to the ongoing pandemic, a number of Mall projects in India were stalled in different stages all through 2020. This year, work has begun across all pending projects and over 45 lakh sq. ft. of retail space is coming up in the next few months, according to a report from Anarock Property Consultants. However, this is just 50% of the Mall retail space development that happened during 2019 and twice as much what happened in 2020. Noida, Bangalore and Mumbai will add almost 1 million sq ft each and the rest will come across India including a few Tier 2 towns.
“Improving consumer confidence and a resilient long-term retail growth story translates into higher shopping spending, which reflects in the mall space scheduled for deployment in 2021. This new supply will be spread across tier I and tier II cities of India, with tier I cities accounting for around 90% of the space. Approx. 85% of the upcoming malls are likely to be added in tier I cities, and 15% in tier II & tier III cities”, said Pankaj Renjhen, COO & Joint Managing Director, Anarock Retail.
4.50 million sq ft or 45 lakh square feet of Mall Space would translate into an opportunity to open thousands of shops selling branded apparel, accessories, electronics and so on, not to forget Multiplexes, Food Courts and Restaurants. A back of the envelope would mean, 20% of the proposed space would go in to common areas, multi-level parking and so on. That leaves behind 3.60 mn sq ft. Usually, a third of Mall spaces house anchor tenants such as large Department Stores and a Multiplex while the rest of the space is occupied by our-play vanilla stores. Assuming an average size of 1,000 sq ft per store, that would translate to around 2,100 stores across these markets with a bouquet of over 300+ brands who typically set shop in Malls across India. Large Department store chains like Westside, Shoppers Stop, Lifestyle and Max have seen stiff competition from new-age, internationally acclaimed ones such as H&M, Zara and Marks & Spencer. However, due to the surge in e-commerce over the past 5 years, especially in the fashion business, several Department Stores have either shut store or shrunk their stores. On the other hand, single-brand stores selling fashion and apparel among others, have been cautious in their scaling up and expansion for want of not cannibalising their own stores nearby, due to which SSSG – Same Stores’ Sales Growth, a key metric and the holy grail of Retailers takes a huge hit. Instead of a deeper penetration in a city or geography or a city, brands are now preferring to increase their stores’ sales which brings higher business efficiency as well as reduced cost (of rent and staffing).
Amazon and Flipkart are expected to drive USD 9 billion in October during the ongoing sales period, where the players are offering deep discount across product categories. The offline Retail Industry has already been severely disrupted due to the ongoing pandemic and now, even though Retailers are struggling to achieve their own pre-pandemic Sales figures. With many Malls struggling to drive footfalls, multiplex shut for a long time (and a huge rise in OTT viewers), and most importantly, not much of a significant difference in the way most malls look or designed, the going would only get tougher for offline retailers if they do not create a significant competitive advantage for themselves!