India Shopping Centre Forum 2010: Partnership is the outlook from retailers

India Shopping Centre Forum 2010: Partnership and growth is the outlook from developers and retailers

Mumbai, May 7, 2010: Anuj Puri, Chairman & Country Head, Jones Lang LaSalle Meghraj, wrapped-up the India Shopping Centre Forum (ISCF) 2010 at the Renaissance Hotel & Convention Centre, Powai, Mumbai, by saying developers and retailers needed to continue to work in partnership to build on the progress made so far.

Along with Pranay Sinha, MD, Star Centres, Mr Puri chaired the final discussion of the forum, “ISDF D&R Conclave, Partners in Progress: Developers & Retailers”, which brought together a panel of leading developers and retailers. The participants included Dharmesh Jain, CMD, Nirmal Group, Arif Sheikh, President-Retail, AIPL, Abhishek Bansal, ED, Pacific Malls, Shilpa Malik, Founder & CEO, Star Centres, T Anupam, Associate VP, Malls, Korum Mall, Sanjeev Mehra, VP, Mall Ops, South City Projects, Yograj Arora, Director, Select Infrastructure, Thomas Verghese, CEO, Aditya Birla Retail, Ashesh Amin, President, Apparel & Retail, SKNL, Akhil Chaturvedi, Director, Provogue, Pradeep Hirani, Chairman, Kimaya Fashions, Pramod Arora, Group President, PVR, S Shriram, Head, Key Accounts, Café Coffee Day, Jonathan Yach, Head – PropCare Mall Management, Sunil Biyani, Future Group, Monish Bhalla, Runwall and Rajneesh Mahajan, Vice President-Leasing, Inorbit.

And despite panelists joking that the relationship between developer and retailer was akin to “cats and dogs getting along” or a “relationship made in hell”, Mr Puri said that over the past few years the industry had become one community.

With tenant occupancy costs in India among the highest in the world, the most debated issue of ISCF 2010 was the role minimum guarantees and revenue-share should play in fair rental pricing.

Jonathan Yach, Head, PropCare Mall Management, captured the sentiment of the forum’s final panel in saying that the key to solving rental pricing was trust and transparency. Mr Yach said retailers needed to share their sales figures with developers to determine appropriate rent prices and developers should be trusted not to misuse this sensitive information.

Another important discussion point in the forum was the importance of partnering with consumers. Neeraj Ghei, Director, Select Infrastrucutre, said the best way to create successful malls was to treat consumers as stakeholders and incorporate their needs and wishes into shopping centre design and operations.

Amit Bagaria, Chairman & CEO, Asipac, said malls should incorporate more community services, such as RTOs (Road Transport Office) and banking and medical facilities.

Perhaps the strongest theme to emerge from the forum was the industry’s optimism. The lessons learnt from the global downturn along with healthy sales growth through quarter four has led most retailers to press ahead with strong expansion plans.

“We believe in the Indian growth story,” Govind Shrikhande, President & CEO, Shoppers Stop, said. India’s largest department chain expects to almost double its existing number of 30 stores within five years as it opens in seven to eight new Tier II and III cities, such as Aurangabad, Bhopal and Mysore.

Thomas Verghese, CEO, Aditya Birla Retail, summed up the optimism when he said, “Whether it takes three decades, two decades – the change and growth [in retail] will be astronomical and take us all by surprise.”

ISCF 2010 also recognised the nation’s best shopping centres and developers on Thursday night in a glittering ceremony of the Images Shopping Centre Awards (ISCA) 2010, hosted by Anish Trivedi and Simone Singh.

Inorbit Mall was the evening’s big winner, claiming the prestigious “Most Admired Shopping Centre Developer of the Year” award, while New Delhi’s popular Select City Walk received the award for “Most Admired Shopping Centre of the Year – Metros”.

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