In 2010, a 3,50,000-sq.ft. area CMR Central Mall opened its doors at a lonely Tier-III city. Today, the mall has become a leading destination for the city of Vishakhapatnam. Images Retail talks to Mavuri Venkata Ramana, Director of Vishakhapatnam’s popular destination mall, who is also the Director of Chandana Brothers Multi Complex Pvt. Ltd. and Chandana Brothers Shopping Mall Pvt. Ltd.
Established in 1975 by Shri Chandana Mohan Rao, the Chandana Brothers (CB) Group had made a strong presence in terms of textiles, jewellery and real estate through the years. Today, the company has a chain of 28 textiles and jewellery showrooms, all based in Andhra Pradesh. CB Group started out with a small outlet at Jagadamba Centre in Vizag in 1985, with a carpet area of around 4,000 sq.ft.
“In a span of 25 years, we expanded the showrooms all over the coastal Andhra. Five outlets have been opened in and around Vizag to address customer requirements,” elaborates Mavuri Venkata Ramana, Director, CMR Central. He was confident about introducing the mall in a Tier-III city like Vizag, despite constant advice from people who warned him that such a concept would be too new for this region.
He says: “In January 2010, we opened our mall, CMR Central, with 70 percent occupancy. By 2012, we had 95 percent occupancy and now, we have the highest footfalls in the whole of Andhra Pradesh.”
CMR Central is located in Maddilapalem, Vishakhapatnam, A.P., strategically placed close to the national highway. The 3,50,000 sq.ft. mall is spread over five floors including the ground level, a two-basement space for around 650 four wheelers and more than 1,000 two wheelers. The mall hosts tenants who include India’s top five stores in terms of sales.
According to Ramana: “Vishakhapatnam is the country’s largest city in terms of land with an area of 550 sq.km, and the third largest city on the east coast of India after Kolkata and Chennai, also known as ‘The City of Destiny’. Official Census 2011 released by the Directorate of Census Operations in Andhra Pradesh detailed Vishakhapatnam had a population of 4,288,113. Vizag is identified as one of the ten fastest growing cities in the world economically and demographically.”
Though a Tier-III city, Vishakhapatnam boasts of being a centre for education in the state of A.P. with a literacy rate of 70 percent. The city is part of the Petroleum and Chemical & Petrochemical Investment Region (PCPIR) proposed between Vizag and Kakinada. According to Ramana, the city is positively growing with the PCPIR region expecting to generate employment of 1.2 million and a projected investment of Rs. 34,30,000 million. Ramana informs that Vishakhapatnam is home to many industries like steel, NSTL, LG Polymers, HPCL, Coromandal fertilisers and shipyard, and pretty soon a strategic oil reserve facility by 2016.
“Keeping in mind the taste of the customers over here, we made the tenant mix in such a way that it suits all age groups,” explains Ramana. “CMR Central has something or the other for every customer. We have luxury brands, international and national brands that suit different patterns of customers. We do not intend to target only the higher society over here. Our motto is to cater to the middle class or the upper middle class customer,” he adds.
Consumers in Vishakhapatnam
>40 percent of the consumers in Vishakhapatnam are between 20 and 49 years of age.
<40 percent of the consumers in Vishakhapatnam are under 19 years of age.
<20 percent of the consumers in Vishakhapatnam are over 49 years of age.
The majority of consumers are young (<30 years of age).
Brands, food outlets and events available at CMR
Apart from the CMR shopping mall, the main anchor brands include Reliance Trends, Reliance Digital, The Home Store, Max, KFC, Inox and Pizza Hut. Food outlets include KFC, Pizza Hut, Dominos, Baskin Robbins, Chocolate Room and other local brands.
|No. of elevators & lifts in mall||16 elevators & 7 lifts|
|No. of entry & exit points||4 entries & 7 lifts|
|Total built-up area||3,50,000 sq.ft.|
|Total GLA, retail area (in sq.ft.)||2,50,000 sq.ft.|
|No. of floors||G+4, P1+P2|
|Total no. of stores (excluding kiosks)||55|
|Total no. of kiosks||6|
|Name of anchor stores||Inox, Reliance Trends, Reliance Digital, Reliance Living, Max, KFC|
|Prominent foreign brands or stores in the mall||Max, KFC, Pizza Hut, Dominos, Nike, Baskin Robbins|
|Prominent national brands or stores in the mall||Levi’s, Pepe Jeans, Flying Machine, Wrangler, Peter England, Mufti, Inox|
|Prominent regional and local brands or stores in the mall||Sairam Food Parlour, CMR, Funzone, Game Planet|
|Name of multiplex, area in sq.ft. & no. of screens||36,731 sq.ft., 4 screens|
|Type of parking space (e.g., multi-level, open, covered, basement, etc.); parking area in sq.ft.||Multi-level parking area|
|4-wheeler parking capacity (no. of cars)||650|
|2-wheeler parking capacity (no. of two-wheelers)||1,200|
|Average no. of footfalls on weekdays||45,000|
|Average no. of footfalls on weekends (Saturday & Sunday)||85,000|
Ramana prefers to outsource retail supports like marketing, water supply, maintenance, window displays, etc., but at the same time, these supports are under the control of his staff who head each department and then report to the mall manager working under him.
He explains: “In terms of marketing, there are several options in and around the mall where we suggest the best place for the tenants that suits their brand. The events calendar for the year is prepared in advance and is followed as it is. We also provide ample security as well as parking space for the tenants as well as the consumers besides offering separate parking slots for the differently-abled and senior citizens.
Ramana points out that despite a volatile economy and growing inflation, consumers in India are constantly on the lookout for something new.
“Acknowledging that consumers cannot have it all, they value experiences and relationships over material things in an attempt to define their identity, find fulfilment and happiness,” he says. “A desire for a ‘real’ human touch, especially in challenging times, often leads people to retreat to local community and like-minded social groups for support. They equip themselves with mobile devices and embrace latest technology to fuel both work and play. Marketers will need to establish an authentic relationship and find ways to collaborate with consumers to deliver better.”
Ramana is confident that if he brings customers directly to the retailers’ doorsteps, then it is just up to the retailer to convert inquiries into actual sales. This is only possible with the right kind of product offering and pricing. A mall positioned in the right catchment area can create the right tenant mix with the help of the right kind of retailers.
Satisfying the various classes of customers who walk into the mall is the main challenge. CMR Central does not target only the elite segment, but tries to attract all customers who walk into the mall with a good experience. The mall has a mix of tenants that would attract people from every class.
CB Group will be expanding within A.P. with projects in Kakinada, Rajahmundry and Gajuwaka. The company’s real estate business will be expanding towards the coastal areas of Andhra.