Starstruck: Mall Owners Relocate others for Starbucks

Brands that are being shunted to less attractive locations to accommodate the coffee chain are not amused

A joke doing the rounds on Twitter these days is that the wait outside Mumbai’s first Starbucks coffee outlet at Horniman Circle is so long that a smart alec has started selling tea to those standing in the queue.

Starbucks Coffee Logo

Starbucks Coffee Logo

This kind of consumer frenzy is music to the ear of mall owners in India’s big cities. Sensing a huge opportunity, many of them are offering the American coffee chain preferred locations within their malls, sometimes even at the cost of relocating a brand that is already present at the location.

It’s not as if the mall owners are expecting premium charges. They just want Starbucks as an anchor tenant as such iconic brands can bring home the much desired footfalls; and also inspire other quality labels to set up shop in their malls.

Starbucks had said that it plans to open 50 stores by the end of the year in Delhi and Mumbai. That plan may or may not materialise, but the coffee retailer surely is on the fast track to sign up new spaces. “For some international iconic brands, mall developers will be willing to bend backwards as they can improve the tenant mix,” says Jaideep Wahi, director, retail agency at Cushman & Wakefield India, a property advisory firm that helps companies such as Starbucks find store space.

The Ambience group has signed up Starbucks for two of its malls in Gurgaon and Vasant Kunj in the capital. At the Gurgaon mall, a brand that was on the ground floor is being relocated to another part of the mall to accommodate the coffee house.

“I am relocating a brand for Starbucks as we wanted to give them an indoor-outdoor combination,” says Deepti Goel, head of leasing at Ambience. Starbucks is negotiating for space at another mall in south Delhi. Arjun Sharma, the director of Select Citywalk mall in Saket says he would love to move brands around for the iconic brand. “It’s a relevant brand. It’s a great brand. We always seek marquee brands to improve our tenant mix,” he said.

Another developer in Mumbai, requesting anonymity, said he was even willing to compensate an existing store operator if he vacates his current location.
A Tata Starbucks spokesperson declined to comment on queries sent by ET.

The enthusiasm to put up Starbucks has caused heartburn among a few brands that have been asked to relocate. “We were asked to move to a less-attractive location within the mall, even though the mall owner agreed to give us favourable terms. But it still can’t make up for losing a premium location,” says a manager with an apparel brand, who did not wish to be identified for risk of antagonising the mall owner.

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Vivacity Mall to host “Shopper’s Stop” and “Hyper City” as its Anchor tenants

Mumbai, June 30, 2010: Vivacity Mall, a wholly owned subsidiary of Sheth Developers, has signed with K Raheja Group— to set up Shoppers Stop; a family store, with value merchandise and Hyper City, the hypermarket chain stores within the upcoming Vivacity Mall at Thane.

Vivacity will be housing, ‘Hyper City’ and ‘Shoppers’ Stop,’ as its anchor tenants. The two format retailers belonging to K Raheja group have leased an area of 85,000 sq.ft and 65, 000 sq ft respectively spread across the ground floor and the first floor. In one of its earlier developments, Sheth developers also announced its tie up with Cinepolis to set up fourteen screen megaplex with a facility to showcase over 70 shows on a single day with a seating capacity of 2,400 people.

Speaking about the 2 large anchors coming on board with Vivacity Mall, Mr.JP.Biswas, VP Leasing & Marketing, Sheth Developers said, “Our tie-up with Shopper’s Stop and Hypercity is in line with our promise of getting top brands in to Vivacity. We look forward to give a world class shopping experience to our customers all under one roof. With all these brands pitching in at Vivacity, we feel our customers will rediscover the way they shop.”

Commenting on its strategic tie-up with Vivacity, Govind Shrikhande, Customer Care Associate & President & CEO, Shopper’s Stop Ltd, said, “We always wanted to have a large Shoppers Stop store in Thane. Vivacity has filled in the gap perfectly for us. In our opinion Vivacity will be a dominant retail property in the Central suburbs. The size and expanse of the mall combined with our ability to pull customers will be key to the success of both Shoppers Stop as well as Vivacity.”

Speaking further on being the anchor tenant of Vivacity, B.S.Nagesh, Customer Care Associate & Vice-Chairman, Hyper City Retail Pvt, Ltd said, “We feel that Thane and its adjacent catchment area has a lot of present potential, and when we take into account the upcoming projects, the outlook becomes one of the brightest in the country. In view of this we have signed up for our second Hypercity in Thane at Vivacity. The strategic location of Vivacity and its ease of access is ideal for a hypermarket.”

Vivacity will be located on the Eastern Express Highway, spread over an area on 1 million sq.ft. Vivacity is first retail venture of the Sheth Developers and happens to be one of the largest malls in the state, with one-of-its kind experience for its consumers. The mall has currently has 37% occupancy by retailers from the country and are hoping for a 100% occupancy by the end of the year. The Mall is slated to open its doors for its consumer in the mid of FY 2011 – 12

About Sheth Developers:

Sheth Developers is one of the trusted Real Estate and Property Company with major presence in Western India and UAE with over 20 years of experience in building large residential and commercial complexes and townships in Mumbai and the suburbs. Sheth Developers is one of the few real estate developers to have won the prestigious awards like Best Interior Design for Iris Bay Dubai, Best High Rise Development for Vasant Lawns Thane; Best Residential Building for BeauMonde , Mumbai and many more. Also, it is one of the few distinguished developers to have won the Best Developer Retail Project (Future) for designing Vivacity Mall, Thane; one of the largest Malls in India. Sheth Developers Pvt Ltd has earned consistent accolades for its notable projects in India and abroad.

About Vivacity

Sheth Developers has extended its real estate presence with its colossal retail development – Vivacity. One of the largest malls in the country with a GLA close to 1 million sq ft, Vivacity is set to raise the bar in the industry. With a team of best in the class professionals on the projects, marketing and leasing fronts, Vivacity will ensure that both the retailers’ and the consumers’ interests are well taken care of.

For further information please visit: www.shethdevelopers.com

Media Contact for Vivacity:

Leon De Souza / Deepshri Iyer

leon@corvoshandwick.co.in / deepshri@corvoshandwick.co.in

+91 9833581376 / +91 9987266410

Are shopping malls losing the game to stand alone stores?

They epitomise America’s consumerist society and have contributed terms like ‘mall hopping’ and ‘mall rats’ to popular lexicon. But are shopping malls in the US losing the game to stand alone stores?

CLOSE your eyes and you could be in any mall, anywhere. At each end is an overstuffed department store with roving fragrance spritzers and makeup artists. In between are children’s stores showing pink clothes on the left, blue on the right, interspersed with teen clothing stores where the lighting is dim and the salespeople are rail-thin. Throw in numerous shoe stores and another version of The Limited or The Gap. Hungry? Don’t fret: Somewhere in this mall are warm cinnamon buns.

That’s the problem. According to new Wharton research, consumers are aggravated and uninspired by the sameness and predictability of shopping malls, which for decades epitomised America’s consumer society. It’s not exactly the news mall developers want to hear, given the already difficult holiday retail environment.

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Why are Indian retail giants wary of online presence?

A lot has been said and written about the growth of organised retail market in India and how big corporates, either solely or though foreign partners, would change the landscape of the country’s retail scenario with huge investments and nationwide presence.But the startling observation is the absence of own websites of these retail companies. Whatever information one gets is only though newspaper reports, magazines and blogs. There is nothing official from the company platform in terms of their plans, network, products, offers and investment pattern.

Leading retail players like Reliance Retail, Subhiksha, Aditya Birla Retail, Bharti does not have a dedicated website of their own. They just have a press release or media kit as the only source of information about the venture.

To top it all, a consumer even in this era cannot find a location of the nearest retail store or what all the store has to offer in terms of product range. Only Future Group’s Pantaloon have a good presence clearly stating its lines of business and store locations to add to its online business portal, futurebazaar.com.

Even websites of big mall developers lack in terms of information regarding presence of retailers in their malls. Though Hypermarket Chains like Spencers, Westside, Shopper’s Stop maintain a well-designed updated website.

It is difficult to single out what goes behind the minds of retail companies to not give information about their company on website. Even websites of global retail giants like Walmart, Tesco cannot be said to among the most informative and distinctive as compared to websites of world’s leading brands.

Maybe the retail companies think that their business is highly offline and does not feel the need for having an online presence. Another line of thinking could be that once the business achieves scale and nationwide presence, they could ramp up their online presence.

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