Bangalore: Some 328 new shopping malls are expected to come up in metros and so-called tier II and III smaller cities over the next two years, forcing developers to find innovative ways to attract stores and maintain foot traffic from shoppers.
A report titled Upcoming malls—2008 and beyond, compiled by real estate consultancy firm Jones Lang LaSalle Meghraj, says northern India will lead the retail boom, with 136 new malls by 2010.
While New Delhi is expected to get 15 malls, its suburbs, Faridabad and Ghaziabad, will get seven new malls each. Mumbai leads the pack among individual cities with 30 malls planned in the next two years. Real estate firms, such as DLF Ltd, Akruti City Ltd, Nirmal Lifestyle Ltd and Oberoi Constructions all have retail plans in the western and central suburbs of the country’s financial centre.
Kolkata, probably one of the last metros to be hit by the retail boom, has 18 malls lined up. The landmark Statesman House in central Kolkata, which would be turned into a 2 million sq. ft shopping destination by Emaar MGF Land Ltd, is one of the biggest malls coming up in India.
“This new breed of malls is expected to have facilities that were lacking in the earlier malls. Developers will now give more importance to determining factors like parking, mall design and soft strategies like customer relationship to make these malls work,” said Bappaditya Basu, a vice-president at Jones.
Some experts are sceptical about the numbers.
Retail consultants note only 22 new malls became operational in 2007 nationally. For example, just three of the slated 15 malls opened in Mumbai last year, because the others are still in various stages of completion.
Still, the Jones report points out a large number of emerging hot spots—smaller cities and towns that will get their first malls by 2010.
For instance, with 15 new shopping malls being set up by film director Prakash Jha, who has ventured into mall development, several areas in Bihar and Jharkhand, such as Patliputra, Sitamarhi, Hazipur and Bettiah, would soon feature for the first time on the Indian organized retail map.
In southern India, Kochi in Kerala is expected to have 13 malls by 2010, just one less than a shopping hub such as Bangalore.
With huge townships and residential ventures, such as Sobha Developers Ltd’s largest township in Maradu, Kochi developers are upbeat about the city prospects.
The study forecast both local and national developers setting up malls in previously unlikely places. The business strategy of EWDPL India Pvt. Ltd, a three-year-old developer, revolves around setting up first-time malls in small towns.
“We are finalizing a deal in Kottayam which would be the smallest town to get a shopping mall, and scouting for land in Alleppey in Kerala,” said Avnish Hasija, a director. The firm is developing malls in Belgaum (Karnataka), Bilaspur (Chhattisgarh) Kolhapur and Nanded (both in Maharashtra).
“Organized retail in India constitutes only 2% of the global retail industry. So new mall developers here are still going through the learning curve and trying not to repeat past mistakes,” notes Jones’ Basu.