Aditya Birla shopping for retail space

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Aditya Birla Retail, one of the leading retail companies in the country, is looking for retail space to expand their network of hypermarkets across India.

The company released an advertisement calling land, commercial buildings and mall owners to explore options of long-term lease, joint venture, or outright sale.

In an exclusive revelation to Indiaretailing, Russell Berman, CEO hypermarkets at Aditya Birla Retail Limited, said: “We have plans to go pan-India, and through this advertisement we wish to explore best possible options to obtain considerable commercial space. Being the first day of this advertisement, I do not know what the response has been like, but we do hope to find the kind of properties we are looking at.”

Quizzed if the company is not able to find suitable property, Berman said, “Though property market has been on a rollercoaster ride, the company has never had difficulties in obtaining the right property.”

Berman did not reveal the investments planned for property acquisitions, saying, “We cannot share the investments details. We can confirm that they are neither too high nor too low, but enough for required accruals.”

Asked about the company’s take on the present real estate scene, Berman said, “The market is shifting from being a sellers’ market to a buyers’ market. The market is softening and will continue to get softer. There will be a different retailing environment with better growth opportunities.”

Sharing expansion plans, Berman said that in year 2008-09, the company plans to have a dozen ‘more.Megastores’. He confirmed that the retail space for these stores has already been taken, and the present ongoing accruals are for the company’s further expansions.

“We are expanding at a considerable pace. However, we do not like to speak aloud or make statements; we believe in performance and deliverance,” Berman stated.

The company is looking for locations in the range of 50,000 to 150,000 square feet for each store in metros, tier I and tier II cities. The property must have minimum floor plate area of 20,000 square feet, with ample parking facility, high visibility and ease of access.

– Ranjan Kaplish

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