How to build a successful Mall in Kashmir

We have in India many successful Malls, those which attract millions of footfall every year and are source to a mind blowing experience to the visitors and means of earning a good decent livelihood for people who are directly or indirectly dependent on its ecosystem.

Mohammad Mutaher
Srinagar, Publish Date: Nov 20 2018 12:23AM | Updated Date: Nov 20 2018 12:23AM
How to build a successful Mall in Kashmir

A recent study done and published by ANAROCK, a leading real estate brokerage, predicts that there will be 14 million Square feet more retail space in India’s top 8 cities by year 2020 and 85 New Malls will be open to public in next 5 years.

We have in India many successful Malls, those which attract millions of footfall every year and are source to a mind blowing experience to the visitors and means of earning a good decent livelihood for people who are directly or indirectly dependent on its ecosystem. Many of us, by now, might have got the sketch of the In-orbits, DLFs and Phoenix malls of different cities/ which are classified as the highly successful Malls of India and might have felt the everlasting experience they have had there.

Well, what makes a Mall successful? And why don’t we even have a single successful Mall in Kashmir so far? As we have few examples of failed Malls like Sangarmall in Srinagar.

The success of any project depends on, how well the project is perceived and how well that perception/idea is treated. One ought to give respect to all of the components the perception is constituted of. When one thinks of a Mall outside of Kashmir, he knows he first has to approach a Mall consultant (just at its Brown filed stage) and then the architect and other vectors involved in the Mall making, but in Kashmir, one hardly knows that there even exist professionals by that name of Mall Consultants. Many a times, people in Kashmir on their own try to architect this multi million venture and let their frets and fancies decide its layout and structure, not to talk of hiring a Mall consultant.

So who are these Mall Consultants? And what does these Mall Consultants do? Well, Mall consultants are the people who are the actual creators of a Mall, They know what a Mall should constitute of, which plate size of Mall should have which treatment, how the circulation of the Mall goes, what brand mix the Mall should constitute, to cater to its trade area what and how the immediate trade area of the Mall should be. They have in their intuition what we call the Mall Science.

Mall Science is the art of knowing what constitutes a successful Mall. The intuition, what different one can do and what if something is done differently, will add to the footfall of the Mall and thereby its success. Though there are maximum contingent tactics which are applied for different Malls of different plate sizes at different locations and times, still there are some right hand thumb rules in Mall science which every Mall Consultant follows, some of which constitute:

Analysis of the immediate trade area and thereby the structure of the Mall: A Mall consultant does thorough study of the immediate trade area up to two and half or three kilometres of radii and plan the plate size and other amenities/services of the Mall accordingly. It is the trade area which decides the brand mix and ultimately the Plate size and ROI of the Mall. Sometimes the immediate trade area also determines the culture and theme of the Mall and also the various different facilities the Mall should possess.

Analysis of the circulation: The circulation of the Mall is very important. The customer flow to each and every corner of the Mall is as vital as is the flow and reach of blood to every part of our body. In circulation a thorough study is done to see the ingress and egress in a way, which will give maximum customer/ buyer circulation to the Mall. Vital brands are placed strategically, so that the circulation reaches every nook and corner of the Mall.

Structure and unit sizes: A mall consultant sits with the architect and makes him understand which units need which sizes at which locations within the Mall. How and where the Mall Anchors should be placed, so that the circulation efficiency is achieved and accordingly the floor plate of anchor is decided. They are aware of the different sizes and service line requirement of different anchors. Where which vanilla brand should go and which vanilla needs which unit size? A slight mismatch in sizes makes it non viable for the brand to occupy the space there which leads to the absence of that vital brand from that Mall. So the structure of the Mall is neither as per the frets and fancies of its owner nor of his architect. It actually is defined as per the requirements of the brands which are going to occupy the space in that Mall and bring revenue and ambience to that Mall.

Brand mix: According to the trade area and the plate size of the Mall as well as its classification (whether it is a district or a Regional Mall) a Mall consultant decides which brands can be approached and where all they can be in-habituated within the Mall. Some of the Anchors like a Super market and a Hypermarket, a single screen or a multiplex/ a recreational player, a good quick service/ fine dine brand are all vital for a Mall and no Mall can do without it. Depending on the plate size of the Mall, a Mall consultant decides how many anchors in each category are needed for a Mall.

Rent/ payout mix: A Mall consultant is well aware of and decides the rent/ payout which the Mall is going to receive from every anchor and vanilla brand and thereby gives the early inputs to the investors about the type of ROI/ IRR they are looking at. It helps an investor plan the costs and resources well ahead to the actual birth of the Mall. Every brand whether it is a vanilla or an anchor has its own store level profit and loss account and thereby its own margin lines which define how much rent these brands can offer to the Mall. A Mall consultant is well aware and has a very good understanding of the business and thereby the store level profit and loss account of all the brands, which helps him to negotiate better with the brands and also inform the Mall investors well in advance about the upper and lower limits of the rent a brand is going to offer them.

And let me remind you, a Mall consultant does when the Mall is just at its brown field stage. Even each and every space of the Mall is leased to the brand, which has been thought of, to be a suit to that Mall, from the brown filed stage of the Mall to its shell stage. The Mall consultant holds a good relation and reputation with all the anchors and vanilla brands and makes sure that these all start signing the LOI when the Mall is at its brown field stage and the entire Mall is filled till it has completed its shell form. After the Mall is ready to be occupied by the brands for their fit outs a Mall consultant follows up with them and makes sure they take the possession and start their fit outs as per the time lines and GANT which fall back to back till the launch of the Mall.

It is a must to have a consultation with the Mall consultant or make yourself abreast with the Mall science before you actually start drawing the layouts of the Mall on the drawing board.

PS: One of my mentors who is the country once told me, “making a Mall is like riding a horse, if you train yourself well before riding it, you will find yourself riding on its back, if not, it will ride on yours”.


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