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Apparel top category in malls, high streets: Knight Frank’s Think India Think Retail 2023

The Images Group in partnership with Knight Frank India unveiled a report ‘High Streets Real Estate Outlook – Think India Think Retail 2023’, at the Phygital Retail Convention (PRC), on Thursday. The publication encapsulates the current and future take on Indian high streets.

Apparel and Food & Beverage remain the top two categories in both shopping malls and high streets, according to Think India Think Retail 2023. In the case of shopping malls, the second position is jointly shared by Food & Beverage and Entertainment, whereas in the case of high streets, the ‘Others’ category emerged as the second favorite with Food & Beverage.

The attractions provided by shopping malls in recent years have ensured that they have become a preferred destination for international retailers looking to foray into the Indian market. As malls promised assured footfalls due to the integration of spaces, zoning and similar tenant profiles, international anchor tenants in India have largely been situated in big-box formats. Most international retailers, especially in apparel, home décor and Food & Beverage categories, require multi floor or contiguous retail spaces for their stores to display merchandise or offer an experiential feast to customers, which is hard to find in high streets. Poor quality of retail stock and relatively high rentals in comparison to shopping malls are also some of the deterrents for international retail brands to expand across high streets. Only a few international brands have explored customized smaller store formats on high streets so far, while most flagship or experience stores in key Indian cities remain concentrated in a handful of Grade A shopping malls with high trading densities. Of the total retailer presence across the top eight markets, only 14% retailers of international origin are situated in high streets. In contrast, 31% retailers of international origin have footprint in shopping malls.

A high concentration of Indian brands in categories such as apparel, jewelry, accessories and home and lifestyle are a boon and not a bane for high streets. The high brand recall value of these brands drives serious shoppers to high streets without any dependence on entertainment options which are key tenants in shopping malls. These retailers have successfully created an ecosystem for value retailing for several other retail categories which cannot survive in shopping malls due to poor returns on rental costs.

The report is a compilation of some of the best insights and intelligence on 30 key high streets in India spread across 10 metros. These high streets are in Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai, National Capital Region (NCR) and Pune.

“From being the local ‘go-to’ centres to meeting the daily shopping needs of customers, high streets have evolved over time in Tier I and Tier II cities to offer a mix of retail categories dotted with brands of different origins. Knight Frank presents the report in response to the stakeholder expectations of arriving at the market size of these significant centres of retail trade, which has been a challenge for industry participants,” wrote Shishir Baijal, chairman and managing director, Knight Frank India in the foreword.

The Phygital Retail Convention (PRC), India’s largest retail intelligence platform by the IMAGES Group, is being held at the Jio World Convention Centre in Mumbai on the 11th and 12th of May 2023. Presented by Inorbit Mall[s] and co-powered by Mufti and Delhivery, PRC 2023 is working on the theme ‘Accelerating Retail @Scale For India: The Retail Megaverse’ and aims to showcase the immense promise of the world’s fifth largest economy and its most exciting retail marketplace.

With a participation of more than 250 speakers and 1000 brands and companies, and 100+ shopping centres showcasing current and upcoming malls, there’s going to be a treasure trove of knowledge.

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