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Foreign brands a challenge for domestic retailers

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Indian retailers are going through a tough time in selling their brands in the numero uno shopping malls which have replaced themselves as a host to international players. The signages of Big Bazaar are going down thus making space for (H&M) just as Aditya Birla’s Pantaloons is jostling with and with Canadian shoes. Though Pheonix Mills deny this fact but the more productive brands have thrown an open competition for the erstwhile anchors which used to flood the market.

Big Bazaar going down to make space for Hennes & Mauritz

Last one year has seen a chain of relocation as the mall developers are preferring foreign brands over the locals. Satya Paul was replaced by Armani in Palladium just as Adidas opened its store where it used to be Reynolds. Globus had to make a way for Hamleys in the R-City mall. At the Oberoi Mall, Bombay Blues had to clear space for Burger King whereas Nike was given the space once owned by Neckties & More and the Bombay High. Ambiance Mall surprised its customers with GAP & H&M in the same space where Jumbo Electronics and Benetton used to be. Sarcastically, the visitors to Westside or Pantaloons are now seen shopping at Forever 21, Mango and Zara!

Mall developers reveal the retail business is looking forward to more dynamic changes than they had imagined in the near future. Zara Homes, Uniqlo, Massimo Dutti, Ikea etc have expressed their interest in setting up business in India. This has resulted in the expansion of Zara, H&M, Forever 21, GAP etc. Owners are finding it difficult to figure out the exact potential of the real estate, hence it is safe to go for shorter tenures so that reworking procedures are made easier.

Almost 20 per cent of the malls in our country are vacant and there is immense pressure on the owners. With the economy slowing down, the cut throat competition between brands and labels have subsequently increased. Nowadays, the mall owners are refraining themselves from making long term agreements as it used to be some years back. From the beginning of 2000s, the tenure has been restricted to 9-10 years instead of 18-21 years as used to be earlier. Tenures for the vanilla brands have further been shortened up to 2 and 3 years.