The future of retail is already here. Are you ready? This is the question posed by the IRF powered by MAPIC this month as its event took place over the 5-6 September at the Renaissance Hotel in Mumbai.
Arrived in Mumbai for my first IRF under the guise of MAPIC, having attended many of the shows since 2007, nothing had changed much, it was still the stalwart of Indian retail but now with a growing ‘International Aurora’, thanks to the MAPIC team.
India’s premier annual event is where retail brands learn, grow, shop and experience the future of retail and retail real estate in the world’s fastest growing market.
This year, the event once again presented an exclusive opportunity for everyone in attendance – from emerging retail brands to the key industry leaders – to meet and connect with the right set of people, over the course of two days.
For many years International brands have surveyed the market, looking for the right time to enter, the right partner and the right locations. I remember interviewing on stage in 2007, Cliff Crosbie, Global Director of Nokia, Francis McAuley, International Director of Debenhams, Salim Sacoor, Sacoor Brothers amongst many others since including Mamas & Papas, Subway and Manchester Airport.
Today there is a plethora of international brands in India and many world class destinations, like DLF Mall of India, Noida; LuLu International Shopping Mall, Kochi; Phoenix Marketcity, Bangalore; Espanade One, Bhubaneswar; Forum Centre City Mall, Mysore; Mall of Travancoree, Trivandrum and VR Bengaluru, Bangalore, with many more under development or proposed to start.
This years International Delegation included:
- Helen Barnish, Managing Director, Entertaining Retail representing Richard James Saville Row;
- Carlos Morano, Development Director, Marwa; Damian Hopkins, International Director, Matalan;
- Anabel Soares, International Franchise Director, Camaieu;
- Alex Coombe, Business Development Director, BoConcept;
- Ajay Talwar, General Manager, C House Cafe;
- Edouard Falguieres, Franchise Director, Guinot;
- Hun Yee Er, Head of Distribution Development, India and Southeast Asia, Swarovski.
The Delegation enjoyed guided tours of the show by the MAPIC Team….( Francesco, Guillaume, Rita and Nataliya), introductions to key Franchise Partners and Developers in the region to explore potential expansion of their brands into India, with the exception of BoConcept who have had had an established presence in the country for over 5 years and enjoying year on year growth.
A Franchise Summit was the highlight of ‘Day One’, giving them that all-important opportunity to showcase their brands to international partners eager to acquire new concepts.
The team gelled over dinner on the first evening opting for Italian cuisine rather than the traditional Indian Cuisine bestowed upon us at breakfast and lunch…that said I am going to miss my traditional dosa for breakfast.
The second Day saw more meetings and the moment we had all been waiting for- “The International Retailers Panel” powered by MAPIC, moderated by, you guessed it myself.
We started with a brief overview of the market for international brands by Vivek Kaul, Head of Asia, CBRE, followed by experts Tushar Ved, President of Major Brands and Rajesh Jain, MD and CEO, India for Lacoste giving us an Insight into finding the right local partner as well as exploring the best strategy to penetrate India.
The session continued with two of the countries major Developers, Rajneesh Majahan, CEO, Inorbit Malls and Pankaj Renjhen, CEO, Virtuous Retail, giving us an insight into their projects, providing one-stop destinations for fashion, lifestyle, food, and entertainment for an international experience, looking at the right tenant mix, connectivity, accessibility and innovation alongside important investments like technology.
Last but not least the most important part of the panel an Exploration of the International Retailers. Matalan gave a snapshot of the brand with an explanation of its target customer and how the core profile has evolved in recent years. Camaieu gave a brief insight into the brand taking a look at how the offer translates across borders, both culturally and in terms of consumer wants and needs. BoConcept shared with the audience strong, recognisable brand, internationally explaining how they developed new products and initiatives to stay at the cutting edge. Helen gave the perfect ending to the session by sharing her wealth of expertise in bringing international brands like Nokia, Body Shop, Hamleys and Merlin Entertainment to the market over the last eleven years, giving the audience an insight into her journey and lessons learnt along the way.
The second evening played host to the 15th annual Retail Awards recognising and honouring excellence in every major format and category of modern retail in India.
A world wind two days of exploring, connecting and developing relationships in the Indian Market culminating in a farewell dinner…a great time had by all.
An added extra at the event was the inclusion of the International Retailer Tour the day after the event on 7 September. Unfortunately I was back on a plane to Dubai first thing but other members of the international delegation enjoyed the tour including trips to Seawoods Grand Central, one of the prime shopping centres of Navi Mumbai with 380 stores, 16 anchor stores and an 11-screen multiplex, High Street Phoenix, another prominent shopping centre which features more than 200 stores and a seven-screen multiplex, situated next to Palladium Mall, with a GLA area of one million square feet spread over four floors and over 200 stores. The final stop on the tour was to Oberoi Mall, comprising of six floors, around 120 stores and a four-screen multiplex.
Until next year…
To discover experts views on the retail real estate market in India.