â€śWe recently bought a flat in Kasbaâ€¦just 5 mins away from Acropolis mallâ€ť â€” Abir told his work buddies at the office pool table. And, one could easily sense a considerable hint of pride when he said so.
Had anyone mentioned Kasba as their new address even a decade back, they would have probably met with a raised eyebrow or maybe a few sneers. But, itâ€™s not just Kasba. The face of many locations in Kolkata is changing. And, itâ€™s particularly interesting to see how localities that were deemed as â€śnot so sought afterâ€ť are getting transformed into residential hotspots. A big reason driving this change is the rise of retail.
The Kolkata Retail Revolution
The Indian retail sector, due to drastic urbanization, a surge in per capita income, and the dramatic rise of a new upper-middle-class segment is experiencing a super-fast transformation over the past decade – a trend that is only expected to strengthen in the years to come.
Changes in consumer preferences and heightened brand consciousness, and ever-growing consumerism are speedily replacing time-honoured mom and pop retailers with swanky shopping complexes and big-box retail stores, which are popular for housing luxury and lifestyle brands from around the world.
Driven by this remarkable retail transformation, India, in recent times, is witnessing a substantive increase in demand for mall spaces. Kolkata, though a bit late in jumping on to the retail bandwagon as compared to the other cities, is rapidly emerging as a prominent retail destination in the country that promises a tremendous growth potential for the next few decades. In fact, according to a report, â€śtoday, the city is considered by retailers and developers as one among the top destinations in the country to set up their retail establishments/projects.â€ť
The Transformation of Kolkata Into a Hotbed for Retail Investments
Today, the City of Joy has steadily and undoubtedly secured its place in the big league, welcoming a plethora of domestic and international brands to set up their retail chains and outlets in traditionally upscale locations, as well as in the city’s new and upcoming areas.
The overall forecasts for the success of these retail stores are high and optimistic, primarily because of Kolkata’s vibrant manufacturing, logistics, and IT markets, which are attracting a significant number of high-income-group individuals from other Indian cities, and also from various parts of the globe.
The year 2017, in particular, was special for Kolkata retail markets, as the city witnessed a striking rise of 55 percent in high street retail transactions with an overall leasing of close to 0.75 mn sq ft in the said year. Most of Kolkataâ€™s retail spaces have been acquired by QSR segments, and by celebrated retailers of apparel, jewellery, and other consumer products. Besides new retail stores, a number of old, non-performing, single-screen cinema halls in the city are also being revamped into plush retail projects, which have something for everyone.
Some noted names that have floated their stores in the city are anchors like FBB (Fashion@Bigbazaar), which with its 24,000 sq ft store at erstwhile Rangmahal Theatre, Hatibagan, is the largest FBB retail outlet in the entire country.
The city is also gearing up to host retail giant Future Group, and a slew of Brand Factory outlets, some of which are already operational, and some expected to be ready by the 1st quarter of 2018. They are also going to open a 21,000 sq. ft. Brand Factory outlet at N. S. C. Bose Road at Kamalgazi near Garia. Barackpore of North Kolkata is going to see its first approximately 14,000 sq ft of Â FBB in due course of time.
The retail division of Kolkata’s trusted real estate consultant, NK Realtors, has played a significant role in facilitating all of the above three anchor transactions.
The Kolkata circle of this full-service real estate consultant has also assisted Bangalore based multinational restaurant chain Barbeque Nation. The format of this restaurant chain varies from on an average 2,000 sq ft of area to even 7,000 sq ft of area. NK Realtors Kolkata has concluded around 10 showroom transactions as a real estate consultant recently with this restaurant brand in Delhi â€“NCR and Kolkata.
SVF Entertainment Pvt LtdÂ is an Indian media and entertainment company headquartered in Kolkata. Apart from the largest producer & distributor of Bengali Films, SVF has distributed Bollywood and Hollywood films in Eastern India. Multiplex division of SVF has given a new dimension to its innovation in the form of Miniplex with minimum 16 -17 feet of height. Recently SVF Cinemas has opened its 2 screen Miniplex with 271 seats on the 2ndÂ level of Woodsquare Mall in Narendrapur, Kolkata. With the addition of this, there are currently 5 operational SVF Cinemas in and around Kolkata. Retail Division ofÂ NK Realtors Kolkata has supported them as real estate consultant in their new journey as Cinema operator and concluded 3 transactions with them.
Do Big-Box Retail Stores Heighten a Locationâ€™s Liveability Quotient?
The answer is yes. In fact, the premium retail brands that have entered Kolkata retail market are exactly doing that, as in, reshaping the real estate landscape of Kolkata, and uplifting the liveability quotient of numerous locations spanning across the city. However, the presence of major retail outlets not only improves the liveability quotient of a particular area, it at the same time, also hikes the value of properties drastically, which are within its close vicinity.
This perfectly makes sense because big retail stores bring with them impressive perks that significantly step-up the liveability quotient of a locality, which, in turn, amplifies the quality of life of people living in that area.
One of the prime advantages of having multi-brand retail stores and commercial complexes in the neighbourhood is that residents living close by can enjoy a variety of features like movie theatres, gym, spa, gaming zones, and many other family-friendly attractions. They also have the convenience of a shopping centre nearby, and a well-manicured space, where they can simply socialize with family and friends over a cup of tea or coffee.
Access to high-end branded stores that offer a completely new way of shopping, availability of better products, and close proximity to necessary community amenities, such as a top-class grocery store, are some powerful factors that add value in the minds of home buyers, which hike up the demand for homes in and around shopping complexes, malls, and plazas.
Moreover, there are major development programs like walkways, pedestrian bridges, and landscaped gardens that usually come up along with prestigious malls and complexes, adding improved facilities, and creating a comfortable atmosphere, which supercharges the liveability quotient of a locality.
This is exactly why buying a home near a commercial complex is right now the smartest real estate strategy. The benefits combined together offer an improved lifestyle, increase the value of a property, and also provide a win-win scenario for both end-users and retailers, as retail stores positively benefit from the increased population in terms of greater footfall and more sales.
Big Retail Stores and Upscale Commercial Projects in Kolkata Are Attracting Smaller Businesses
In the US, it has been observed that small retail businesses that have set up their shops close to big retail stores like Starbucks or Home Depot, usually report a significant rise in customer footfall and sale conversions. This is because big retail outlets generate a substantial amount of foot traffic around the clock, some of which inevitably spill over to other businesses that surround them. Economists refer to this as a positive externality or the spill over effect, an effect that attracts small businesses to a locality where multi-brand retail stores or complexes are located. Of late, the same trend is being witnessed here in Kolkata as well, as now we can see an umpteen number of smaller businesses cropping up in the vicinity of big stores that share similar business lines.
For instance, a Dominos or a Pizza Hut outlet often attract cafes, coffee shops, fast food centres, etc., and it is the same case with other retail businesses like apparels, home dĂ©cor, or other consumer products. Governments around the world use the spill-over theory to attract businesses to a particular locality, as a thriving business zone is a sure-fire indicator that a neighbourhood is on the up. Authorities in Kolkata are also doing the same.
With various multinational retail brands exploring business opportunities in Kolkata, it is obvious that the demand for quality retail space is likely to rise exponentially. This will invariably trigger new launches of malls and complexes that have more spaces and state-of-the-art infrastructure at par with international standards. Furthermore, the recent relaxation of FDI norms is also expected to bring in fresh investments, providing the construction and development sector the much-needed launchpad to expand its scope in the city, and the country at large.