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West Bengal: East India’s Retail Powerhouse

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Sandeep Kumar
Sandeep Kumar
A multimedia journalist with over eleven years of experience in print and digital media, Sandeep Kumar is assistant editor with Images Group. Books, retail, sports and cinema are an inextricable part of his life.

Home to some of the oldest and largest retail businesses, West Bengal remains the epicentre of economic activity in the region boasting a plethora of retail outlets, dining options, and entertainment facilities, catering to the varied tastes of shoppers

New Delhi: West Bengal is east India’s economic powerhouse, as per a CBRE-CREDAI (Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Associations of India) study. The state spearheads growth and innovation in the region, driven by urbanisation, rising disposable incomes, and changing lifestyles.

A favourable policy environment, infrastructure advancements, and a promising business landscape in West Bengal are collectively creating attractive investment opportunities across various real estate segments.

Overview

Retail real estate in West Bengal has experienced significant growth and transformation in recent years, reflecting the changing consumer preferences and the state’s evolving retail landscape, with Kolkata becoming the key business and financial hub of development. Notably, during April-June 2023, Kolkata played a substantial role in industrial and logistics leasing activities in India, contributing to 8%-12% of the sector’s activity.

In Kolkata, the organised retail sector spans over 8 million sq. ft. Among the city’s regions, South Kolkata leads in the distribution of organised retail space, accounting for 31%, followed by East Kolkata at 24%, West Kolkata at 17%, North Kolkata at 15%, and Central Kolkata at 14%.

In 2023, the rental values for organised retail spaces have shown variations across these regions. South Kolkata commanded the highest rental rates at `375 per sq. ft. per month, followed by Central and East Kolkata, both at 350 per sq. ft. per month. North Kolkata trailed behind at `175 per sq. ft. per month. Rental rates for both high streets and malls are anticipated to witness a 5%-10% increase by the end of the year.

Although Kolkata continues to serve as the central real estate market in the state, investments in infrastructure development and supportive policies have catalysed real estate expansion in tier-2 cities like Durgapur, Siliguri, and Darjeeling.

Shopping Malls in the Region

As one of the most populous states in India with a rich cultural heritage, West Bengal presents a diverse market for shopping malls, catering to the needs and preferences of urban and suburban consumers alike.

In recent years, the proliferation of shopping malls in major cities like Kolkata has reshaped the retail landscape, offering consumers a convenient and modern shopping experience.

Kolkata

Forum Courtyard

Led by Rahul Saraf, Chairman of SAPL, Forum Courtyard is one of the oldest malls in eastern India. It started as a mixed-use developed in 2003 before being converted into a full-ȷ edged mall. Located on Elgin Road in Bhawanipore, the mall is spread across a built-up area of 2 lakh sq. ft.

It was opened to the public with the sole intention of launching Shoppers’ Stop in Kolkata. Today, it has a presence of more than 100 brands across six floors—the top floor being a 4-hall movie complex operated by PVR INOX.

South City Mall

West Bengal East India’s Retail Powerhouse

Developed by South City Projects (Kolkata) Ltd. in 2008, South City Mall is located in the populous Southern suburban city of Kolkata. It is a landmark in mixed – use development projects that includes residential towers, an art gallery, and a school.

After seven years of functioning, its interior design needed refurbishment to make it relevant to the changing trends. Given the highly transformative nature of malls and retail experiences in India, the mall had been commissioned for a massive renovation that spanned two years, between 2017 – 2019.

South City Mall is designed by retail specialist ICS Bentel Associates. Anchored by major stores like Pantaloons, Spencer’s Retail and Shoppers Stop, there are also 134 other stores, a food court on the top floor and an INOX multiplex of six screens. It now also includes an IMAX multiplex, along with the food court called ‘The Food Street’, consisting of restaurants and kiosks such as Mainland China, The Cream and Fudge Factory, Café Coffee Day and Coffee World among others.

Acropolis Mall

Spread over 2.75 lakh sq. ft., Acropolis Mall is a mixed-use development by Merlin Group. Situated at a strategic location at Rashbehari Connector, close to E.M. Bypass & Ballygunge, Acropolis Mall attracts shoppers and visitors from across the city.

It features food courts, restaurants, and a multiplex cinema, housing brands such as Shoppers Stop, Manyavar, Jack & Jones, Global Desi, AND, Chili’s, Asia Kitchen, Hoppipola and many more.

Quest Mall

West Bengal East India’s Retail Powerhouse

Quest Mall is located at the cusp of premium residential areas like Ballygunge and Park Street, with access from Alipore & New Alipore – via a flyover. Developed by Quest Properties India Ltd., the mall is built across an area of 7.3 lakh sq. ft.

Launched in 2013, Quest is a luxury and high-end premium mall with over 130 stores and 10 kiosks. Lifestyle, Global Kitchen Kolkata and Spencer’s are the anchor stores in the mall.

It also houses INOX with six screens, covering an area of 52,726 sq. ft. along with a food court of 50,000 sq. ft.

City Centre Salt Lake

Also known as City Centre 1, the mall was the first retail real estate development by Ambuja Neotia Group in Kolkata in 2004.

Situated at Salt Lake, the mall is spread across an area of 4 lakh sq. ft. and is popular for its inclusiveness, uniqueness and comprehensive retail mix.

From the central ‘Kund’ to numerous other hangout options, the mall attracts crowds comprising college students, homemakers and oȲ ce goers from all over Kolkata.

‘The Kund’ is the exclusive attraction of the mall. Being a vast multi-stepped plaza designed with a central waterbody and a fountain, The Kund is an ideal space for holding events and promotions. The Kolkata Store is another key attraction showcasing and reflecting the vast cultural and artistic heritage of Bengal. The mall has over 300 brands, with Shoppers’ Stop being one of the anchor stores.

City Centre New Town

City Centre New Town covers an area of 5 lakh sq. ft. and houses shops, multiplex, food court, restaurant, entertainment arena, banquet hall and a hotel. Launched in 2009, it is another retail real estate construction by Ambuja Realty & Development Ltd.

Designed by renowned architect Kapil Bhalla,City Centre New Town is one of the biggest retail developments in Eastern India with a variety of formats to suit diverse pockets and preferences. The mall comprises a balanced mix of major anchors, national brands, plain retailers, and kiosks along with boutiques and a mini bazaar. With over 240 outlets, it offers a wide choice in food and dining plus boutiques, cineplex and gaming zone, fun engagements, and festive events.

Mani Square

Launched in 2008, Mani Square is a mixed-use real estate development with a shopping mall at its hub, combined with leisure, and entertainment options as well as a state-of-the-art IT Park.

Spread over more than four acres of prime land and having a frontage of over 80 meters on the EM Bypass, the total size of the development is over 7 lakh sq. ft.

The mall comprises a retail area, hypermart, entertainment area, food court and ȱ ne dining floor, banqueting facilities, commercial offices, multi-level car parking, and service facilities.

The shops at Mani Square Mall include Spencers, Westside, E Zone, Collection-I, Amoeba and Scary House, United Colours of Benetton, Zodiac, Stanza, Eye-Plus, Reebok, Adidas, Lee Cooper, Dockers, Levi’s, USI, Blues & Blues, Tissot, Otobi, Little Shop, AND, Eye Catchers, Raymonds, Strauss, ColourPlus etc.

McDonald’s, CCD, Hoppipola, Chapter 2, Kaidi Kitchen, Haka, Flame ‘N’ Grill, Machaan, KFC, and Subway are some of the F&B brands at the mall.

Avani Riverside Mall

West Bengal East India’s Retail Powerhouse

Launched in 2012 and developed by Avani Group, Avani Riverside Mall is the first mall in the Howrah district as well as the first eco-green environment-friendly mall in India and the only one in the region to be certified by the Indian Green Building Council (as of 2020) with having “Platinum rating” for energy conservation (awarded in 2014).

Spread across an area of 6 lakh sq. ft., the mall has 7 anchor stores, including Reliance Trends, Pantaloons, Big Bazar, Reliance Timeout, Reliance CDIT, Reliance Footprints and Ezone.

Apart from this, the mall has nearly 200 national and international brands like Allen Solley, Levis, Louis Phillipe, Nike, Pantaloons, Linc, Reid and Taylor, Peter England, Reliance Trends, Van Heusen, UCB, Timex, Bata, Color Plus and Little shop.

Axis Mall

Launched in 2010, Axis Mall by Axis Group is situated in New Town, Rajarhat. With its contemporary architecture spread in an area of 5 lakh sq. ft, Axis Mall attracts many visitors, offering a vibrant and dynamic shopping experience.

The mall features a mix of both national and international brands, ensuring a comprehensive shopping experience for patrons.

Additionally, Axis Mall hosts events, exhibitions, and promotional activities regularly, further enhancing its appeal as a premier shopping destination in Kolkata.

Diamond Plaza

 

Launched in 2012, Diamond Plaza is a shopping centre in North Kolkata offering a lively mix of shopping, food and entertainment brands.

Located between Nager Bazar and Lake Town crossing on Jessore Road, the mall is owned by Diamond Group. Spread across an area of 3. 5 lakh sq. ft., the mall houses PVR, Smart Bazaar, Pantaloons, Trends, Max, Reliance Digital, Home Town, Timezone, KFC, Biba, Bata, Imagine, W, Manyavar, Aurelia, New U, Health & Glow, Barbeque Nation, Bhojohori Manna, Mitra Café, Dominos, Lakme Salon, as some of the popular brands.

Forum Rangoli Mall

Launched in 2015, Forum Rangoli Mall from the Forum Group is situated 20 minutes from Howrah station and 5 minutes from Belur Math. Spread across an area of 3.5 lakh sq. ft., Forum Rangoli Mall is a mixed-use mall with Lifestyle, Pantaloons, Spencer’s, and Reliance Trends being the anchor stores. The Gaming Stadium, Toni Land, and Playzone are the entertainment players in the mall, which has a food court of 8,900 sq. ft.

Siliguri

City Centre

Developed over a ten-acre expanse, the City Centre Siliguri is spread across a built-up area of 8.4 lakh sq. ft. The mall is a multi-utility complex housing over 350 stores.

Shoppers Stop, Spencer’s, Reliance Trends, Max and Decathlon are some of the anchors. The mall has INOX (4 screens) with an area of 42,869 sq. ft, along with Timezone (4,890 sq. ft).

Cosmos Mall

Launched in 2008, Cosmos Mall has been a popular destination for the locals of Siliguri, along with shoppers from Darjeeling, Kurseong, Kalimpong, Dooars and the state of Sikkim. Spread across a size of 3.5 lakh sq. ft., the mall houses over 75 brands across apparel, footwear, electronics, accessories, home decor, electronics, restaurant & bar, hypermarkets and food court.

The total retail space in the mall is 1.45 sq. ft. covering ‘Ground plus 4 floors. The fourth floor is specifically known for Sports Bar Express and rooftop food court’. The Sports Bar Xpress is a popular destination offering facilities like cricket pitch, pool table, dart games and basketball. The two-storey parking lot can accommodate 300 vehicles and 200 bikes.

Vega Circle Mall

Located in the Nimbu Basti in Siliguri, Vega Circle Mall houses a plethora of domestic and international brands for apparel, footwear, cosmetics, electronics, home decor and others. The mall witnesses an average footfall of around 10,000 per day. Spread across an area of 3.5 lakh sq. ft., the mall houses more than 70 brands with Pantaloons, Spencer’s and Reliance Trends being the anchor stores.

Durgapur

Junction Mall

Owned and managed by the Primarc Group in association with the Shrachi Group, Junction Mall attracts catchment and footfalls from the districts of Bankura, Birbhum, Midnapur, Purulia Dhanbad and Bokaro in the neighbouring state of Jharkhand. Located right at the intersection of Durgapur commercial centre and National Highway 2, Junction Mall is considered to be the largest mall in the city.

Launched in March 2011, the mall underwent renovation and was relaunched in April 2018 with better amenities and a set of digitally-equipped services and facilities. Situated about 150 km from Kolkata, the mall offers 4.2 lakh sq. ft. of lifestyle retail space with over 125 international and national brands, including Shoppers Stop, Pantaloons, Spencer’s and PVR.

Designed by Stephen Coates, a globally acclaimed architect from Singapore, the structural facility includes capacious stores, a rooftop multiplex, an expansive food court, a children’s play zone, spacious corridors, airy walkways and basement car parking facilities.

Asansol

Galaxy Mall

Galaxy Mall is the only operational Mall of Asansol with a 3-screen multiplex, food court, dedicated gaming zone and a 42-room business hotel. Launched in 2010, the mall offers a wide range of retail stores, dining options, and entertainment facilities.

With its modern architecture and convenient location, Galaxy Mall serves as a prominent destination for shoppers and visitors alike. It features a mix of national and local brands, along with various food outlets, restaurants, and entertainment zones.

Haldia

City Centre

City Centre Haldia is Ambuja Neotia’s fifth mall with an environment like a lively piazza precinct in urban India. It is a mixed-use commercial complex consisting of a shopping plaza, food court, entertainment arena, cineplex, and office tower.

Developed over a 5.30 acre expanse, the mall is a multi-utility complex that is the conȷ uence of several shopping and entertainment units and office space of various sizes.

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