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    Lucknow: The golden city of the east

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    Keeping in mind the growing demands of the tier II city Lucknow, big brand retailers are continuously striving to cater to needs of the burgeoning population of the city by providing quality retail space. The retailers are bullish on their way to kick off new outlets in tier II and tier III cities these days as these locations are the most sought-after real estate destinations in India for any retailer to commit capital to.

    The first expansion plan developed by Lucknow Development Authority was Gomti Nagar, where Fun Republic Mall has been in operation since the inception of the area. Retail space in the three-year-old mall is 3.1 lakh square feet, with an additional 60,000 square feet being set aside for a hotel with basement; the total built up area is approx 5 lakh square feet. “The occupancy level of the mall is 97 per cent, and this may be one of the few malls in India, which hasn’t been impacted by the recent economic turbulence as we have taken care of our partners all the time. The three per cent balance space will also be leased out in the next six months,” shares Girish Pande, COO, E-City Property Management & Services Pvt. Ltd.

    Retail experience
    Fun Republic is focused on serving entertainment, fine-dining and shopping all at one venue. It started its journey with Fun Cinemas, Fun Gaming, , McDonald’s, Spencer’s, Levi’s, Pepe Jeans and , as the key tenants.

    And today its anchor stores — Shoppers Stop, Spencer’s, Max Lifestyle, , McDonald’s, and Fun Cinemas — are being collectively able to drive huge traffic inside the mall. The property consists of a 6-screen multiplex, department stores, food courts, fine dining restaurants, music and gift shops, gaming, a boutique business hotel and other lifestyle retail options. The surrounding catchments are fairly populated. “The anchor stores are the ultimate footfall drivers; we have focused on serving entertainment, fine-dining, shopping together so the average footfall on weekdays touches 12,000 a day and climbs to 20,000 on weekends,” Pande informs.

    “Fun Republic is one of the few retail destinations in Lucknow that provide wholesome experience to the customers. It has the right retail mix, which makes it a retail real estate star in the city,” notes Rajesh K Maini, GM — Corporate Communications, McDonald’s (North & East India).

    On the location of the mall, Samar Singh Sheikhawat, VP, marketing, Spencer’s Retail says, “The location of the mall is pretty good and it has a right mix of tenants. We were doing very well in the initial stages, but three to four months after opening, we saw a plunge in business. But following renovation of the store, we have regained our momentum and now we have an average of 100,000 footfalls per month.”

    “All the national and multinational brands that are here doing well, which indicates that Lucknow residents are as good as those in any metro, as far as propensity to spend is concerned. Lucknow has been a pleasant surprise for all of us; in fact, the kind of potential it has will surprise many with preconceived notions about tier II locations,” Pande notes.

    Retail development
    “Retail development in Lucknow is as good as in Delhi or Mumbai. You just proportion the population according to area size and the mix is almost same,” informs Pande. “Lucknow malls are performing much better than many centres in many metros. The perception is completely different from the reality at Lucknow, so there is as good scope here as anywhere.”

    Retail development in Lucknow is set to raise the bar with the opening of the Phoenix United Mall, which is set to become operational in the Alam Bagh area of the city.

    Shopping centre activity
    Besides Fun Republic, Lucknow is home to other important shopping centres — The Westend Mall located at Vibhuti Khand, Gomti Nagar, and Sahara Ganj. The built up area of the former is 3,14,500 square feet, while the gross leasable area stands at 2,02,500 square feet. This property, which offers parking capacity for 400 cars, is occupied by several leading retail brands, including , Allen Cooper, Habibs, Koutons, , Liberty, etc. The anchor tenants of the centre are , Westside and .

    Sahara Ganj Mall is the pioneer shopping mall in Lucknow. Opened in 2005, it has 5.25 lakh square feet of super built up area, and is occupied by world class retail brands, a multi-cuisine food court and 4-screen multiplex. Anchor tenants are and Pantaloons.

    Lucknow at a glance
    In terms of traditional retail, the most popular shopping destinations of the city are located in the old Lucknow area. The main shopping areas are Hazratganj, Janpath, Aminabad, Yayaganj, Kapoorthala and the Chowk. Hazratganj market is the high street of Lucknow, and houses many showrooms and retail stores, including the iconic Kohli Brothers’ outlet.

    “At present we have exclusive stores of , Madura Garments, and many more in Hazratganj. Keeping in mind the shoppers’ demands, we have also upgraded our stores to offer customised tailoring services,” informs Kishin Chand Bambhavani, president, Hazratganj Market Association, and proprietor of Leela & Brothers.

    Looking Forward
    Retail development in Lucknow is set to raise the bar with the opening of the Phoenix United Mall, which is set to become operational in the Alam Bagh area of the city, asd well as ’s Mall of Lucknow. Sanjay Banerjee, GM, Phoenix United, says, “The mall will have Big Bazaar, Pantaloons, McDonald’s, Gitanjali Jewels and PVR as the leading occupiers. The property is about 6.30 lakh square feet in area, which includes a triple-level basement dedicated to parking. We are continuously negotiating with some of top brands of the country for space in our mall.” He further promises, “An entertainment centre, a large food court, fine dining specialty restaurants and a 6-screen PVR multiplex will be the primary drivers of traffic to this centre.”

    “Lucknow as a consumer city has been showing consistent growth. We have already signed to add the fourth McDonald’s restaurant in the city at Emaar’s Mall of Lucknow, which goes to reflect our confidence about the future prospects of the city,” Maini at McDonald’s concludes.

    –Diwakar Kumar