Cluster of global brands bursts on to the Indian scene


Global retailers, as well as food brands, are making a beeline for India after a gap of two years. More than a dozen international brands, including Pret A Manger, Tim Hortons and Popeyes, have rushed in over the last few months, optimistic about their prospects in the country after the Covid-19-induced lull in luxury consumption.

Many are opting for large-format stores outside the metros, realty developers and consultants said.

Demand from big names has surged across Nexus Malls’ portfolio of 17 malls in 13 cities, according to its chief leasing officer Nirzar Jain. “Over the last six months or so, large-format international brands across Nexus Malls have ramped up store sizes by 20-30%, depending on the nature of their business,” he said.

Fast fashion brand Uniqlo said recently it would open its first store in a tier II city, while others are also exploring similar forays.

“Brands like Uniqlo, Zara and H&M have been expanding in India after Covid-19 restrictions were lifted. Since the situation is still fluid with respect to the pandemic, we will probably see more aggressive plays from these and other brands,” said Pankaj Renjhen, chief operating officer and joint managing director at property consultant Anarock Retail.

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Luxury brandsET Bureau

According to Anarock, demand for luxury goods has been consistent in the country and many international luxury brands have partnered with to expand here.

Palladium and Jio World Plaza in Mumbai, Emporio in New Delhi, UB City in Bengaluru and Quest in Kolkata are the most prominent bridge-to-luxury shopping centres as of now.

No outright luxury mall is currently in the pipeline though.

According to property consultants, the pace of expansion of international brands slowed between April 2020 and October 2021.

Spreading Out

However, with a rise in retail sales and positive customer sentiment, these brands have begun scouting for bigger spaces.

“Many international brands took the opportunity to expand in markets where they never had any presence,” said Mukesh Kumar, managing director and chief executive, Quest Properties India. “Brands have realised that the only way to get consumers back into stores is to provide quality experience. This has also led to many brands increasing the size of their existing stores.”

Mall developers said a few small franchisees – unable to sustain losses following the shutdowns due to Covid-19 – had to vacate stores.

Also, some shopping centre projects that were under development before the onset of the pandemic – and which had been stalled over the last 18-24 months – have been completed.

In January,

launched US fried chicken brand Popeyes in India.

In March, Canadian coffee brand Tim Hortons said it would enter the country. “Tim Hortons is opening with us, and many other international brands are also in talks. Many existing brands are also expanding,” said Ravinder Choudhary, assistant vice-president at Vegas Mall in Delhi’s Dwarka.

Reliance Brands earlier this week said it would partner with global fresh food and organic coffee chain Pret A Manger to launch and build the brand here.

The current focus of luxury brands on mono-brand boutiques is largely restricted to New Delhi and Mumbai, and selectively in Bengaluru and Kolkata, according to Anarock.


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