Sunday, July 22, 2012


The fast growing On-line business volumes world over seems to be rattling the traditional retailers as most consumer products are delivered to house holds at costs significantly less than that charged by the conventional merchandising system. One of the reasons attributed to this distortion is that items sold through the Internet are not often taxed, though this cannot explain fully such discrepancies. According to some projections, On-line retail business is estimated at $ 573 billion, not considered insignificant. Evolution of retail business from small "mom and pop" stores into huge Malls of today manifests the transformation of the society from a thrifty era into a high spending phase where consumers have unlimited opportunities to spend money whether own or borrowed on a multitude of choices that can enrich the quality of life. Lately many Malls built investing heavily to tap the growing consumer culture are finding that they are being threatened by the On-line business practices and to sustain them selves these modern retail outfits are trying to "invent" new ways to "retain and attract" more customers. Here is a commentary on this new phenomenon.   

"Just about every mall owner in America is looking for ways to compete with the Internet. R. J. Milligan, a real estate analyst for Raymond James, said that developers were slowly adding more service-oriented elements to malls — for instance, dividing a closed Sears anchor store into multiple cafes. But Glimcher is pushing the envelope even further than the standard model of restaurants and expanded food courts, he said, with tenants like Make Meaning (a membership store where people make crafts, cakes and other things) and Drybar (a salon with no scissors, just stylists with blow-dryers). "They've done a good job of getting the right tenants in there," Mr. Milligan said.Scottsdale shoppers can have their hair blown into beachy waves at Drybar, create picture frames at Make Meaning, try a tree pose at Blissful Yoga and grab a kale salad at True Food Kitchen before going to a movie, where they can have drinks and snacks delivered to their reserved seats. They can also take advantage of in-person-only opportunities at standard retailers, like the so-called booty cam at Industrie Denim, a jeans store, that lets women study their rear view. A Restoration Hardware scheduled to open soon will offer fresh flowers and cups of tea for sale. "We want to be a place that people go to frequently, more than one time a week," said Mr. Glimcher, so the emphasis is on classes and other hands-on experiences".

Whether Internet retailing is good or bad is another matter but still considering the on set of serious health related physical and mental down turn of populations in many wealthy countries due to sedentary life style, On-line buying is definitely a disadvantage as it is a temptation to get what one wants sitting at home with no chance of any significant physical activity. However On-line retailing is not amenable to many activities, especially those requiring personal care and attention and this is a factor that drives many Malls to change their lease profile to include more and more specialty food centers, personal care facilities, high end services, training centers for tailoring, food preparations and other skilled activities etc so that customers will have to visit them more and more often. With most Malls offering entertainment facilities and low end food courts there is already a trend emerging where more people come to Malls for this experience than for any purchase. If high end restaurants and shop outlets are given more importance, Mall attendance is bound to improve dramatically.


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