By Anuj Puri
For more than a decade now, Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR) has continued to dominate entire India’s retail real estate stock and supply. For many years, it has also dominated demand. In 2015-16, Delhi-NCR influenced about 60% of the pan-India supply and demand for retail real estate – and this scenario is unlikely to change much for some time to come.
With nearly 100 malls in operation across the region, Delhi-NCR is the default ‘mall capital’ of the country. No other Indian city comes anywhere close to its undisputed position.
Delhi-NCR has quite a few other distinctions to its retail scene vis-à-vis other Indian cities. It serves as a ‘Gateway to India’ for many brands – both of national and international origins. Foreign brands such as Burger King, Johnny Rockets, Wendy’s, H&M, Gap, Calvin Klein, US Polo, Nautica – to name a few – launched their India operations from Delhi-NCR.
Interestingly, Delhi-NCR also has the highest saturation of malls in a leading micro-market – Gurgaon has as many as 28 malls with a total footage of more than 7mn sq ft for a population of 15.14 lakh (as per Census 2011).
In the most successful malls, the average rentals in Delhi–NCR have grown by between 4-5% over the past three years. In the less successful malls, this growth has been less spectacular at between 0-1%.
Some of the most successful shopping malls in NCR are Select City Walk in Saket, Ambience Mall on NH 8 Vasant Kunj, the DLF malls in Saket and Vasant Kunj, Pacific Mall in West Delhi and MGF Metropolitan Mall on MG Road, Gurgaon.
Tenant Profile Dynamics
Another trend emerging currently is the change in tenant profile across malls in Delhi-NCR, especially in the successful malls. For example, food and beverage (F&B) brands and entertainment players are starting to influence the tenant profile in most of these malls. Malls operators are realising that having F&B and entertainment options gives them an edge over malls that do not have them. These tenants also help malls to attract more footfalls to other stores.
For leading malls, it is all about providing customers as much variety of experiences as possible – all under one roof. So that when shoppers come to buy apparel and accessories, they can also dine in the same mall and watch a movie too. A JLL study done in 2H2015 showed that while the total area leased by apparel and accessories’ brands still stood at more than 6.67 lakh sq ft in a few leading malls of Delhi-NCR, the entertainment and F&B players had together leased more than 2.48 lakh sq ft in the same malls.
Call To Action
If Delhi-NCR is to be able to tap its fullest retail potential, there is a pressing need to identify poor and average malls and improve their potential by correcting design and planning mistakes done at the time of their construction. As there has been an increase in the gap between superior grade and poor grade malls over the years, this is a big opportunity to further enhance the retail profile of this region.
Anuj Puri, Chairman & Country Head, JLL India