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Sep, 03 2015


As The Franchising World completes seventeen years of reportage on the retail industry, it makes me ponder on how the industry itself has evolved over this time and literally turned on its head. Some changes have been organic owing to natural growth trend

The biggest explosion that took place in the retail industry has to definitely be attributed to the advent of mall retail in India. I have personally witnessed an enriching journey with DLF Promenade & DLF Emporio so far. The entire Vasant Kunj complex has been acting as a one-stop shopping and entertainment destination which has an ever evolving customer who we need to constantly observe and collectively evolve with.

The 'customer'. The very core of our existence makes for many interesting case studies. One can't shy away from the fact that while there may be many behavioural trends impacting sales  the biggest aspect remains to be the direct link to socio-economic conditions and its impact on spending appetite. Despite these external factors, our malls have seen a steady rise in the number of foot falls and we today boast of the highest sales per square foot.

While the environment and our customers evolve over time  there are some categories in retail which have also grown and seen changes at the same rate. The top category in my view which demonstrates this is definitely fashion.

With the opening up of the FDI norms; India is witnessing penetration from a lot of popular international fashion brands. Also due to the much wider global awareness among the urban population, these brands are not only being well accepted but also anticipated.

When Zara opened its store at DLF Promenade, I was astonished to see the bee line of ready patrons the day they opened doors. And till today, we have seen immense success with the brand.

Within the last two years, we have added several other global as well as home grown brands in both these segments. The choices are disparate and that seems to be the key to catch up to buying & fashion trends which are changing with a blink of an eye.

We have very carefully curated our selection of fashion brands and are always aiming to meet our promise to be a 'fashion-first' shopping destination. However, the very definition of fashion is changing every season where some brands prove to be timeless while others eventually perish.

With brands like Zara, Mango, Promod, Bebe, Steve Madden, Forever New, Aldo, AJ, Claire's & DKNY accessories, FCUK to name a few, we have a plethora of options under one roof. This seems to be the key for success in a fashion retail environment where variety is a game changer.

Apart from this, the approach of various brands is also changing with time. Swarovski recently held a Blogger's meet at the mall which was a very successful event for them. The quality of footfall matters to convert to business and our location is also apt for most of the South Delhi style- conscious customers.

International brands compliment local brands and each seems to have found its own niche and buyer profile.

There has been a huge debate on the so-called impact of e-commerce on mall footfall but this is the case in my point of view. While e-retail is highly successful in non-metro locations and for select categories; most fashion related sales are either impulse purchases or via a communal congregation between friends or family which is an aspect unique to the Indian buyers.

The need and context for fashion is also very disparate & unique to the culture here in India. While during festivals like Diwali, Teej and Rakhi, we see a big spike in ethnic sales; the international brands have managed to find niche regular customers across segments. Between Biba & Bebe  we pretty much cover the entire fashion spectrum with many more brands coming on board soon enough!

An IIM Bangalore alumnus, Dinaz Madhukar

Senior Vice President and Mall Head of DLF Emporio & DLF Promenade is a stalwart in the hospitality sector in India and a name to reckon with in the ever-growing retail space. Her work dynamism has made her successfully tread multiple roles in her career path, mapping and acing every milestone that came along her way, naturally progressing from hospitality to retail.

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