Monday, September 29, 2008

Here mall, there mall, everywhere a mall mall -II

In my previous blog post, I talked about malls popping out everywhere. Today, let's analyse its impact.

Like I mentioned earlier, the two kilometre stretch near my house which was once barren now has three malls popping up. But the point to be noted here is that with the increase in the number of malls, the land prices are also escalating. The main reasons for the price hike are -

  • The increased popularity of the location, mainly because of the mall.

  • Selection of land by people near a swarming area to ensure safety.

  • Merely staying near a mall has its own set of benefits to enjoy. This would reduce the expenditure to be spent on driving all the way to the mall and the only expenses would be in the form of movie tickets and other eats and commodities bought in the mall. This in turn would also provide exercise to the body with the residents walking down the street for a change.

These can be considered as some of the more important reasons to buy land near a mall. A mall does bring profits to all its stores. However, it does a favour to all the property dealers as well. The nearby land or the properties become hot cakes on sale. Hence, it is the most profitable for a property dealer.

On the other hand, the price hike of properties hits badly on those who would want to buy within a specified budget. Prospective buyers from the middle and the lower strata have to search for other alternatives.

Another point to be noted regarding malls is that the rate at which they are springing up is not equivalent to the sales from its stores. This poses us with the major question of whether justice is being done with so many malls being popped up. On second thoughts, it is better to be happy with a few nice ones around instead of having one on each street.

It has to be remembered that whatever new is introduced in the society should be able to amalgamate in to the society maintaining a balance with everything. All in all, focussing on the urban India itself, a desired outcome is a must which should enhance the growth of a particular industry.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Here mall, there mall, everywhere a mall mall

Of late, malls have been the new buzz word in the country. This is one aspect in retail which has helped the industry grow tremendously in India. A mall can be defined as a multi purpose building which includes different branded retail products as well as services. It acts both as a utility as well as an important leisure joint for the consumers. Usually, a mall consists of retail stores, food joints, multiplexes etc.

The mall culture in India has grown tremendously and it continues to grow. The two kilometre stretch near my house which was once barren now has three malls in the making. The reason behind this can be partly due to the growing economy in the country because of which the boundaries of the middle class community are expanding at both the ends. Also, the concept of the mall culture, being adopted from the west can be considered as a step towards initialising the country's growth from all the aspects, retail being one.

On the other hand, it can be said that a niche has been created for the consumer to experience something new and better. The concept of window shopping has also been introduced in this genre. A mall symbolises leisure shopping and rejuvenation for an individual or the entire family together. These air conditioned malls cater to commodities for age groups making it the most opted hang out.

Malls are also catering to the lifestyle changes of the urban India. With the gen next believing more in experimentation as compared to their previous generations, it can said that the mall culture is walking in to the country at the right time.

However, the prices offered at these malls are much higher than those offered by an ordinary retail store in a common market street for a particular product. This would make it difficult for each and every consumer to shop from such stores, although an individual can come exclusively for the food court or to catch a movie.

It is agreed that there are certain drawbacks, but then the concept does bring a freshness to it making people visit such places and have a good outing even if they cannot afford to buy anything from the mall. An ice cream cone or a cup of corn with a nice sight can do wonders at times.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


In my previous blog post, I tried to analyse the impact of the retail boom on the local vendors. Now lets try and look at the consumers. When it comes to the consumers in India, the level of variation is extremely high. It is obvious that the retail industry has developed beyond limits in India. But is it catering to each and every customer from all walks of life? As I view it, these stores aim only at the middle and the upper strata of the urban society. As pointe out by jc as a comment on my earlier blog post, I would like to explain the situation.

It is agreed that to some extent these air – conditioned super markets do offer a good amount of deals and discounts increasing the options for a consumer. But then, a customer from the lower strata of the society trying to walk in to one such store is immediately stopped and shooed away. Although such incidents are still rare purely due to the fact that such consumers do not opt to shop from such stores. This is clearly one aspect that is never given heed to. Such stores clearly showcase the unjust divide in the country. The basic division of the population into the upper, middle and the lower strata itself shows the discrimination between the country's people. A person earning daily wages can easily afford the prices offered by these stores to some extent. But this is not being realised by other sections of the society leading to the ill treatment of such people.
In addition to this, the major target for these retail stores has been the urban India. This caters to only a niche market. Instead, if these stores had been set up in both rural as well as the urban areas, there would have been an equilibrium in development bringing in people in to these stores from the traditional as well as the modern society to experience a new kind of shopping.Although this growth in the retail industry has led to better economic conditions in the country, rural India is still being neglected.
All in all, people from all sections of the society together define the country's identity. Hence, they should not be neglected when it comes to any form of development or an initiative.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Organized Retail – Development or a Threat?

The retail industry in India is growing leaps and bounds. With major conglomerates such as Reliance, Aditya Birla Group etc. entering the retail space, the scenario has changed dramatically when compared to maybe 4-5 years back. One's first reaction to such large-scale entrants in a market where opportunities were considered to be scarce would indeed be positive. But is this evolution really helpful?

On second thoughts, it might not be as it seems. With the opening of a big air conditioned super market in the neighbourhood, local vendors are clearly at a loss, since you would never opt to shop from them when given the option of a much more sophisticated environment and quality assurance as well. This way, organised retail is actually becoming one of the contributing factors for the country's poverty, which has always been one of the major obstacles in the country's growth.

Usually, in today's fast paced world, people do not find time for each other and with the rise of such stores, it is leading to the ultimate isolation. Although such stores do provide employment opportunities etc., but an ordinary shopkeeper who is already pulling strings to make ends meet is now homeless. This clearly shows the increase in the divide between the elite and the not so elite.

Although shopping is considered more of an experience than a necessity, certain key points have to be remembered, especially in a country like India. Being a developing nation, care has to be taken to ensure that each and every section of the society is being focussed upon in equilibrium. There are many niche areas to be focussed upon apart from retail for the big Indian conglomerates. For instance, cyber stores could be opened in rural India itself promoting the use of technology where in the local people could be trained as well employed later on.

The positive impact of these retail stores is being noticed. But it's never too late to understand the diversity of the country and make a U – turn to rethink the whole concept again. It is always better to have the major part of the outcome as positive than the negative influences. As time passes, so would the impact.