Spearheaded by Mr. Deepak Kumar, Elpro International Ltd. raises the value of Pimpri-Chinchwad Pune with the opening up of the biggest Mall in Pimpri-Chinchwad.
To get more insights on the story behind all this our special correspondent Mr. Shastri speaks to Mr. Deepak Kumar – Chairman & MD, Elpro International Ltd.
Mr. Deepak Please take us through your professional journey so far. How has been your association with Elpro?
My professional journey spans more than two decades now where I have been associated with top Indian companies such as Reliance, ITC, Future group etc. where I got experience. My association with Elpro has been very challenging and rewarding where I have achieved a lot of professional milestones as well as broken many mental barriers by thinking out of the box to achieve success in some very tough times.
Based on your experience over the years, how have the dynamics of the retail industry changed in the last 5 years – the major highlights?
The dynamics of the retail industry has undergone a complete overhaul in the last few years as the focus of all the successful retailers has changed from unmindful expansion to expansion only when there is a guarantee of the strength of the catchment and viability of a store which is driven through improved margins and a merchandise mix which can deliver that goal.
In your career what has been the most challenging task that you have handled that you may want to highlight?
The most challenging task for me was to launch a long stalled project into a Vibrant Mall which you now know by the name Elpro City Square Mall and to make it a destination of choice among all and only sheer determination and hardwork by me and my entire team coupled with innovative thinking has made it possible.
What makes the business of shopping malls or retail, a challenge in our country?
The business of shopping mall is a challenge because most of the mall developers think the Mall from the perspective of just Real Estate where once leased it would just keep on giving returns like office space but unlike that Retail Real Estate always thrives on customer service and a lot of softer aspects and a lot of hard work and ploughing in of resources to make a Reatile Real Estate successful which is not the cup of tea of many Real Estate Developers.
If you had a wish-list to submit to the government authorities, what would it look like?
My main wish would be to cut down on the time taken for various permissions required to start building a Mall as well as permissions required after its completion and second would be to grant subsidies and encouragement financially to use unconventional power as Malls are energy guzzlers.
When it comes to people management, what’s the mantra that you follow?
Firstly have integrity, secondly – Lead by example – If I believe I can do it, only then I will ask my team to do it. Thirdly – I trust my team – My team has been handpicked by me and I have full faith in them.
How seriously is revenue sharing being followed at your mall?
We take revenue sharing very seriously in our Mall and for that we have installed Pathfinder software for this sole reason to get proper sales data from all retailers, besides in all our agreements we have the revenue share clause built in and we would like all the retailers to hit revenue share as it’s a win-win for both the Mall as well the retailer.
What are the criterions put in place for brand selection and zoning for your mall? How do you handle the tough decisions of asking brands to shift location or discontinue the association?
We had done a huge sample survey with IMRB for determining the brands we wanted to have at our Mall as well as conducted research on the brands which are preferred in our catchment and for the zoning we wanted to follow the simple logic of retail in keeping the international/unisex brands on the GF, Men’s on the FF and ladies/Kids on the second floor with the food court and multiplex. It is always very tough decision to ask the brands to shift but if such a decision is to be made then we have to bank upon our agreement where the brands with low TD among its own category can be shifted or can be moved out.
The top 5 hygiene factors that are a must for any mall manager to follow?
The top 5 as per me for any Retail Real Estate operator should be-1) Know your property inside out.2) Know the financials like the back of your hand. 3) Understand Retail business and support retailers to perform at the local level. 4) Control unnecessary wastages as its always a struggle in large properties. 5) People management as you will always have huge teams to manage so to keep them motivated to perform is a huge challenge
And to conclude, if you had to narrow down on three things (personal / professional) that have helped you achieve success in your current work profile, what would those be?
Ethical behaviour, Eye for detail and Hard work would be my top three traits which helped me achieve success in my current profile.
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