Indian Mall Turn-Around Story: How Can Owners Save Malls From Becoming ‘Dead’?


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    Do you believe that the advent of online shopping and the decline of large department stores will eventually push the traditional malls across the country towards extinction? Well, think again as malls are here to stay for a long time, though, their survival will not be a fairy tale.

    The mall business in India has been tough. Owners and developers agree that building a mall is far easier than running it and making sure it keeps attracting footfalls. In a desperate attempt, owners are now increasingly trying to find unique points of appeal.

    According to an Anarock report, India has more than 600 small and big operational shopping centers, primarily spread across in and around metropolitan cities, Tier I and II markets. As a result, malls have successfully penetrated some 100 new cities in the past few years, thereby, dramatically changing the retail scenario.

    Despite the seemingly exciting trend, making a success story out of a mall is not so easy. Malls often go out of business or as they say become ‘dead mall’ despite their location. In fact,  the year 2017 witnessed large-scale closures with nearly 5 million sq. ft of retail space being wiped out.

    Pic Credit: What’s Up Life

    Several big malls across the country have been biting the dust after a few years of their opening. Some of the factors that usually lead to the downfall of a mall are a bad brand mix, wrong location and wrong offering to the catchment area. There are various ways in which mall owners try to get their mall back on track. Here are some of the ways:

    • Developing Malls As Community Hub:

    People need space to chill out and relax. Equal emphasis should be on entertainment, play, and food as well as on shopping. Congested food courts can be replaced with a wide variety of restaurants and pubs, which are major revenue generators.

    • New Look-and-Feel:

    Many depleting malls renovated themselves to give them a new look and feel and upgraded their infrastructure. Like, Phoenix Mall in Lucknow changed aesthetics to bring in that ‘wow’ factor in the mall. They reportedly transformed the interiors into luxury interiors. The changes coupled with other marketing and branding activities resulted in steep footfalls increase.

    • Upgrading Tenant Mix:

    Some major changes in tenant mix often create renewed interest in the mall. Like, Pacific Mall in Delhi changed its tenant mix last year, with the aim to refresh and repackage itself. The strategy proved to be immensely successful as it helped in sustaining customer interest and attracting ongoing retail sales.

    • Marketing And Promotion:

    Keeping the image of the mall as a hip and happening place is the key. To achieve the target of making the mall synonym with fun, fine dining, and latest fashion collection, the mall management needs to increase its focus on creating niche campaigns and events for customers based on their feedback and preferences.


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