Q: What is the factor which is attracting people to the Indian retail market?
It is a simple exercise of seeing how much opportunity there is in the Indian market. Here was a country of almost 1.3 billion people with little by the way of formal retail. For me the most exciting aspect was that they could develop a base using many of the lessons that the shopping centre industry has gleaned over the past 60 years or so and then come up with new innovations on a scale not easily to be repeated in the developed world. The opportunity to be involved in this and to create the opportunity for new job creation as well as upliftment of communities in helping them aspire to a better quality of life was just too enticing
Q: How do you see the future of retail in India?
The opportunities are probably unprecedented but one has to first overcome a number of obstacles. Clearly regulations and legislation based on the India of Old is a major factor and there is a need to initiate new ground changing regulations that bear in mind the way the world of retail is evolving and adjust the environment so that the development of the industry can progress in a positive manner. There is a need to implement new solutions rather than to become hampered by an old set of rules and regulations that hold back one of the most dynamic markets in the world today. There is no question that India has some of the most innovative traders in the world and their potential to overcome adversity and provide really successful businesses is one of their major strengths. I do n to see a surge of Indian retailers moving into the international arena at this time as the opportunities in their home markets are so great that most of the energy will be focussed in that direction. But be assured that their are and will be some really interesting and stimulating concepts that will emanate from that market over time.
Q: How are Indian retailers reacting to online retail?
We need to understand that India has a huge advantage over most other countries in that there are a huge number of the population are extremely familiar and at home with technology in fact they probably have the biggest population core which is familiar with smartphone technology and the internet. A large number of new jobs created in India have been through their ability to provide resources to manage call centres and by the great interest created in It led services. Most major IT companies have a major presence in IndiaThe application of online shopping is therefore a very real thing. It is also being helped by the fact that because of the lack of access to international brands outside of some of the major metropolitan areas there is a greater likelihood of them using online as a retail medium. The one aspect however that creates an interesting tension in the process is the fact that Indians like to negotiate when they are purchasing items so it will be interesting to see how that will be accommodated.
Q: Can you name some important retail projects in India in which you are involved?
Working together with PPZ in India our role has been to help property owners in conceptualising and creating the right retail environments. This starts with identifying what will find appeal with the consumer and developing this into a comprehensive brief to guide the architect and professional team. Viviana Mall in Thane is one such project but other are Vega City in Bangalore , Bailey Square in Patna, Pacific Mall in Dehardun. On other projects we have been introduced into the project after the initial brief when it was identified that there was a need to come up with retail solutions that are more compelling than just another mall and this has led us to projects such as Pacific Mall Delhi, Pacific Mall Pune, RCIty in Mumbai. However in more recent times some of the developers have realised the need to introduce more professional management and we have become involved in Koregoan Park Plaza In Pune, Celebrations Mall in Amritsar and more recently City Centre in Vashi Mumbai. We have several other projects that are on the drawing boards which embrace the the varying needs of the developers. The most compelling need right now is in the provision of professional management particularly with the slowing economic cycle and then need to extract top performance from these investments .