Coimbatore, with its population and infrastructure, is a sub-metro and has a huge demand for malls, writes M. Soundariya Preetha
Coimbatore has several merits to qualify for higher spending avenues. It is the second largest economy in the State, consumers in the city have deep pockets and its businesses have international exposures.
“In cities such as Coimbatore, if done properly, shopping malls will rock,” says Susil Dungarwal, Founder of Beyond Squarefeet. With metros getting chock-a-block with shopping malls, the next growth centre for the malls should be the tier-two and tier-three cities, he says.
Coimbatore, with its population and infrastructure, is a sub-metro and, like tier-two and tier-three cities, has a huge demand for malls. But, it is for quality space.
Shopping malls in these cities should be of quality and should have the right mix of tenants. The location is another important factor.
Mr. Dungarwal points out that over a period of time, the mindset and aspirations of the public and preferences of the Indian consumers have changed.
Every one wants value for money. A larger number of consumers have at least one car.
They want a space to park their car when they go shopping.
The shopping area should be easily accessible. They also expect educated staff to attend to them when they shop. “Shopping habits have changed and will keep changing. We are evolving as consumers,” he says.
The malls cater to these needs of the consumers. Mall developers should take into consideration factors such as the location, demand, prospective clients and customers, shopping area required and purchasing power of the people in the location.
A mall invariably has five main components: a multiplex, food court, family entertainment area, restaurant and car parking facility.
In tier-two cities, the malls turn into community centres as consumers come with their family to relax, shop and have food.
Malls are different from shopping centres. Normally, shopping centres are less than three lakh sq.ft., and do not have all the factors of a mall.
Malls did well in the country in 2004 and 2005 and so many developers entered this segment.
Many of these projects were executed without any research on why and how the mall should be done.
A scientific approach is needed while developing a mall. Currently, the malls in tier-two and tier-three cities have a blend of national and regional retail players. Some of the mom-and-pop stores will also gradually move into these.
However, high streets will also survive. The challenge for the future is to create the right blend of Western and Indian designs in the malls to suit the Indian customers.
Beyond Squarefeet provides end-to-end solutions for mall management. It is a one-stop shop for mall management and has enquiries from Coimbatore, Tiruchi and Salem too.