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    Retailers are ready to expand


    Retailers have expressed optimism about the Indian growth story. On Day One of the India Shopping Centre Forum (ISCF) 2010, a two-day event which began at the Renaissance Hotel and Convention Centre, Powai, Mumbai, on May 5, retailers felt the lessons learnt from the global downturn, along with healthy sales figures, were driving strong expansion for them.

    , president and CEO, Shopper’s Stop Ltd, who was one of the panelists in an afternoon discussion, “Retail Environment: Retailer’s Perspective”, said: “We believe in the Indian growth story.” One of the largest department chains in India, Shopper’s Stop expects to almost double its existing number of 30 stores within five years with plans to open stores in seven to eight new tier-II and III cities such as Aurangabad, Bhopal and Mysore.

    Similarly, , CEO and director, Apparels India, said the luxury brand would expand in smaller cities, including Varanasi, Nagpur and Amritsar. “We are in a phase of accelerated growth,” he said. is planning to build its reach in 20 to 26 cities and 80 points of sale by the year-end.

    , director, , said the apparel brand was also looking to add about 40 to 50 stores.

    By contrast, the evening session on Day One belonged to shopping centre developers with a panel, including , MD, Star Centres, S Raghunandan, CEO, Group, and , MD, Inorbit, discussing ‘Mall Economics: Ground Reality’.

    Raghunandan said rent was a key issue facing shopping centres in India. He said most Indian retailers did not present strong business plans to mall owners when applying for tenancy and this inhibited the path toward fair rentals based on revenue-share.

    Another challenge for the industry, according to Bhatija, was the low throughput of Indian retailers. He said India did not have enough strong selling brands at the moment to drive a large numbers of profitable malls around the country.

    ISCF 2010 is a two-day conference that brings together the brightest brains in the business to discuss tangible ideas for positive development with investors, developers and project operators, retailers and service providers.

    — IndiaRetailing Bureau