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Food courts turn cash cows for shopping malls

Published : May 14, 2016, 1:21 am IST
Updated : May 14, 2016, 1:21 am IST

Shopping malls in India would find it hard to sustain with the onslaught of e-commerce if it was not for the food courts and entertainment they provide.

Shopping malls in India would find it hard to sustain with the onslaught of e-commerce if it was not for the food courts and entertainment they provide.

On an average 30 to 35 per cent business in shopping malls is generated through food plazas and this is set to rise substantially in the next two years.

“Food is becoming a fad for the success of retail,” said Amit Sharma of Mirage Entertainment.

Multiplexes, says Mr Sharma, are “the biggest footfall drivers of malls. We give 150 products (movies) in a year with three products releasing every week.”

Since multiplexes are not able to cater to the need for a variety of food items demanded by customers they have food retailers for whom lobby space has been increased to as much as 20-30 per cent in the malls.

Mr P.V. Sunil, CEO and director of Carvinal Group which runs 400 multiple screens, says that food courts are becoming so popular that the present 10 per cent carpet area space they occupy in malls will have to increase to at least 30 per cent to meet the growing footfalls in food courts.

Box office collections for cinemas he says is about 60 per cent. “Food courts are a game changer for malls,” he said.

There has been some concern that in an era where e-commerce and Omni-channel are redefining the way organised retail is evolving, food courts and beverages are holding key to the success and existence of shopping malls.

This was expressed by panelists at a discussion at the recent India Shopping Centre Forum 2016.

“Malls are no longer just shopping places. They provide different experiences. They are community creators,” said Bhavik Jhaveri, chief executive officer of Preter, an online platform.

Preter has an app that helps in boosting mall sales by providing potential shoppers a chance to view catalogues of the shops at the malls and select a product or products he/she wants.

They then provide a cab to take the shopper to the mall to see and collect the item.

He feels e-commerce is not really a threat to malls as 80 per cent of shoppers still buy offline and only 20 per cent buy online.

But as he explains, “malls are the infrastructure, a pure real estate play. So a confluence between the malls and mobile will be the future of retail and define how the consumer will shop in the future.”