Retail opportunities rise in India

9 August 2013

NEW DELHI: Retailers hoping to expand their presence in India are benefitting from new opportunities as the nation's number of shopping malls increases rapidly, a report has argued.

Asipac Consulting revealed in a study that there were 570 malls up and running in India as of May 2013, compared with just 225 five years ago, the Times of India reported.

Within the overall figures, the seven leading metropolitan cities in India, a group including Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata, have 190 shopping centres in total, with 60 such sites opening in the last year alone.

The 15 largest malls have also ballooned in size by 40% over the course of three years. The biggest is the Phoenix Marketcity in Mumbai, with a "lettable area" of 1.2m square feet and a daily footfall of 65,789 visitors.

Elsewhere, the Lulu Centre in Kochi, the Ambience mall in Gurgaon and R City in Mumbai all have over 1m square feet of space for retailers.

In terms of traffic, the Great India Palace in the New Okhla Industrial Development Area received a reported 90,803 customers a day, the highest figure on this metric.

With India's government having relaxed restrictions on foreign direct investment in single-brand retail, firms like IKEA, Brooks Brothers, Decathlon and Massimo Dutti are actively considering their options in India.

Richemont, the luxury group, has also been in discussions with Anand Sharma, India's commerce and industry minister, about establishing a 100%-owned retail network.

"We have expressed our intention and received a very positive response from the minister," Anne Guimond, group head of tax at Richemont, told the Economic Times.

But accommodating new players can require flexibility on the part of existing tenants. Select Citywalk thus worked with Levi and Next London to reduce store sizes in Delhi and clear space for players like Apple and Superdry.

"This helps everyone become more efficient and creative, and the mall gets more space to bring in new brands," said Arjun Sharma, director of Select Citywalk.

Selectivity will remain important for retailers, too. Asipac estimated that 40% of malls are performing well at present, registering growth of around 12% in the most recent financial year.

Data sourced from Times of India/Economic Times; additional content by Warc staff