Kolkata High On Retail Radar

th_mall.jpgThe retail story in the Eastern part of India has a new chapter now. South City Mall – a landmark in high-end retailing opened its doors here Wednesday. It is said to be the largest mall in eastern India.

Spread over one million sq ft, the South City Mall with 134 retail outlets spread over five levels, promises to create a shopping experience unmatched in the country. The mall is part of the 31.14-acre South City having residential towers, a school and a state-of-the-art club.

‘Benchmarked against international developments, it will be Kolkata’s most important landmark. Apart from satisfied consumer aspirations, it will create more than 10,000 employment opportunities. It also symbolises our global aspirations and showcases the potential for growth in Kolkata,’ R.S. Agarwal, chairman, South City Projects, said during a press meet.

It has been identified as a destination mall by leading consultants Jones Lang LaSalle Meghraj, which will be on the must-visit list for out-of-town visitors. The total project value of the mall is estimated to be over Rs.6.5 billion.It will also contribute Rs.1 billion annually as revenue contribution towards value-added, service and entertainment taxes to the state.The mall will have six anchor stores – Spencer’s Hypermarket, the largest in the country spread over 72,000 sq ft, India’s biggest Shoppers Stop over 83,000 sq ft, Pantaloons over 71,000 sq ft, Fame Cinemas – Kolkata’s first six-screen multiplex at 60,000 sq ft, Starmark offering books, music toys and gifts over 20,000 sq ft, Timezone, an entertainment area for children, spread over 14,000 sq ft.Of the 35,000 types of food and daily consumption items in the hypermarket, 10 percent will be imported stuff, including 40 categories of cheese, 300 varieties of wine and a large range of cigars. There will be a special section for diet and sugar-free products, a large range of breakfast cereals and organic food and a huge spread of fish and meat. The speciality food corner will stock all ingredients required to prepare Chinese, Thai, Japanese, Italian, Gujarati, South Indian or American dishes.The retail bandwagon is in full swing in the East with Future Group planning mammoth investments in this region. Insiders say that Kumar Mangalam Birla group is also planning its first retail outlet in the city. In this war of the malls, it remains to be seen how successfully the mall culture can sustain itself in times to come.
Namit Agarwal