Big Bazaar sales remain unaffected by the slowdown. Reebok too observes zooming revenue figures. Department store Westside is all set to mark its presence. Metro-centric entertainment chain PVR is ready to compete with Inox. And this is all at Raipur, the sugar bowl of India, which — with just one operational mall to be followed shortly by four more openings — is believed to be one of the most promising retail destinations by many.
Spread over an area of 108.66 square kilometres accommodating about 758,181 people (ICMR Estimation, 2008, based on NRS Data, 2006) with a population density of 6,166 persons per square kilometre (Census, 2001), the capital city of Chhattisgarh, Raipur, is proving critics — who categorised it among India’s laggard cities — wrong. With the city’s primary commercial occupation being agriculture and mining, Raipur also offers a hub of activities with an existing mall City Mall 36, spread across an area of 50,000 square feet.
Talking about the success of City Mall 36, Sanjay Gupta, managing director, City Mall Developers, says, “To facilitate the success of the project we focus on varied tenant mix to ensure maximum spend by consumers and leave no other option for the visitor to feel deprived of their needs and go some place else.”
RAIPUR AT A GLANCE
Population: 758,181 (Density: 6,166 persons/sq km).
Consumers: SEC A1: 9.9 pc, SEC A2: 9.7 pc, SEC B1: 13.2 pc and SEC B2: 8.7 pc. 73 pc customers belong to business class, 17 pc to service class and 10 pc to other category.
Malls: City Mall 36, Magnetto Mall, RDA Mall (announced) and Treasure Island (announced).
Adjoining Areas: Raipur is the nucleus of trade and commerce with the inter-state consumers from Orissa, east Maharashtra, east Madhya Pradesh, north Andhra Pradesh and south Bihar.
The only mall currently operational in Raipur is City Mall 36, a fourth-storeyed structure. Some of the brands present in the mall include Big Bazaar, Reebok, Biba, Globus, ColorPlus, Adidas, Provogue, Levi’s, John Players, INOX multiplex, Moti Mahal and Music World. Interestingly, heads of some of these brands disclose that the sales figures are well above their expectations.
For instance, Rajan Malhotra, president, retail strategy, Future Group says, “Our store is reasonably doing well in Raipur. We actually prefer to be more in the centre of the city rather than in the suburbs. But we have no regrets; the store is doing reasonably well.”
Elaborating on Big Bazaar’s strategy, he adds, “Initially, we wanted to check whether we can open in a location where there is no ‘organised market’ and develop a market out of that. We had three different strategies and we found that over a period of time, the dynamics of all these locations have changed and our market grew out of nowhere.”
However, on the plans of expansion in Raipur, Malhotra comments, “We won’t open stores in any of the three upcoming malls being developed in the adjoining areas of Raipur. We have one Market City property coming up in the heart of the town and we will open our store there. “
Sanjay Bindra, director, Biba Apparels says, “In terms of performance, the sales figures in Raipur are very decent.”
On the same lines, Subhinder Singh, managing director, Reebok India, talks broadly on the strengths of tier II and III cities. “Overall our experience is good in small cities. In smaller towns customers are pretty prone to trying out new products. They aspire to get a better lifestyle. It’s a great opportunity to cater their demands.”
“Typically, in tier I cities, we have very large stores; the store count is also large. In Delhi itself, we have over 100 stores but in Raipur, we have only one outlet. However, the performance of our stores in tier II cities is quite exciting,” he added.
Raipur is all set to witness the advent of three other malls shortly. While Magnetto mall will start operations this June, City Centre cum Multiplex (RDA Mall) is under construction. Treasure Island is another mall that has also been announced and will be built on the eastern fringes of the city along GE Road.
According to Anand Singhania, managing director, Avinash Developers, which is developing the Magnetto Mall, Westside will be the anchor store in this mall. A 4-screen PVR multiplex and Spencer’s Hyper will also mark their presence simultaneously.
“Raipur is truly loaded with myriad opportunities as it is in a nascent stage of development of real estate and retail. The city embodies a tremendous economic potential with an annual growth of 20 per cent and is shaping up as one of the most prominent industrial and commercial hubs of central India. It is also showcasing a mammoth number of steel rolling mills, sponge iron plants, steel plants and other agro industries. The city enjoys surplus electricity, drinking water and paramount connectivity with all metros and big cities with road, rail and air,” Singhania informs.
The total population of the city according to the SEC classification, as per NRS data, is reported to be 731,429. The percentage distributions of household belonging to various SEC categories in the city are: SEC A1: 9.9 per cent, SEC A2: 9.7 per cent, SEC B1: 13.2 per cent and SEC B2: 8.7 per cent.
The population distribution of SEC A and B has been estimated on the basis of NRS data and this has been estimated by taking into account the proportionate distribution of SEC A and B population in the city.
The consumer base comprises the local and adjoining urban populace as well as villagers along with the inter-state consumers from Orissa, east Maharashtra, east Madhya Pradesh, north Andhra Pradesh and south Bihar as Raipur has grown to be the nucleus of trade and commerce in the region over the past six decades. “Around 73 per cent of the customers fall under the business class, while service class and others contribute 17 per cent and 10 per cent respectively,” estimates Singhania.
The existence of a mall in the city has already influenced the consumers’ buying behaviour. A survey undertaken by ICMR in Raipur reveals that people residing in the trade area he city of tare generally aware of the malls — both existing and upcoming — along with the shopping complexes and high street shops. The survey reveals that about 81 per cent of the respondents visit malls, shopping complexes and high street shops at least once in a month; this trend was found uniform in all the age groups and SECs covered. About 97 per cent visit malls for shopping products other than grocery. Consumers generally visit the mall with family members and spend at least 1-3 hours in the premises on average.
According to Gupta, City Mall 36 currently enjoys a footfall of 10,000 during the weekdays and 45,000 during weekends.
Raipur is connected by a four-lane highway to neighbouring city Bhilai; this route is to be further extended to Durg city. The Chhattisgarh government also plans to develop another four-lane highway till Bilaspur city. As far as location of City Mall 36 is concerned, the main approach road to the mall has been widened and reconstructed under the project named as Gaurav Path, whose objective is to enhance the trasnport infrastructure in the area. Further, Raipur Municipal Corporation is also planning to put on the roads a highly modernised air-conditioned city bus service.
Raipur city is situated on the Mumbai-Howrah route of Indian Railways and is well connected with important Indian cities including Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi, Amritsar, Chennai and Bengaluru. Air links to the city connects it with Bhubaneswar, Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Nagpur with aviation players including Indian Airlines, Air Deccan, Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines.
The fledgling state of Chhattisgarh is fast emerging as the `power house’ of the country with energy-starved states rushing to its coal pitheads to set up thermal power stations. NTPC already has a 2,100 MW power plant in the Korba region. In the Sipat region, NTPC will have power generation of 1,980 MW in the first phase, while the second phase will generate 1,000 MW.
A special high-tension line is being laid between Raipur and Rourkela, in the Eastern grid. With its ‘Power Hub’ strategy, the state is expected to remain power-surplus in the forseeable future. Hence, it would be the preferred destination for all power intensive industries. Jindal Steel and Power Limited too has announced an investment of Rs 160 billion for 1,000 MW power generation from its units that are under construction at Tamnar near Raigarh.
Naya Raipur is the upcoming capital of Chhattisgarh being built near Raipur Airport. The new city is about 20 kilometres from Raipur between two national highways — NH 6 and NH 43. The new city and the old one are separated by the airport. Naya Raipur covers an area of about 8000 hectares. The urban design of the new city will incorporate the best of international cities as well as traditional Chhattisgarh culture. The design is the grid pattern city plan. One of the major influences of the design was Kuala Lumpur’s new capital complex at Putrajaya.
“New capital – Naya Raipur will be a unique and ultramodern city featuring international grade facilities and infrastructure in all spheres, which will define the city’s lead over others. All these ingredients will boost the scope of retail in all formats — apparel, entertainment, food, shopping and amusement,” says Singhania.
— Shailesh Shah & Sarimul Islam Choudhury