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Parsvnath unveils retail plans amid slowdown

August 12, 2008 09:37 IST
Delhi-based realtor Parsvnath Developers will open 10 retail stores this year and develop 21 commercial projects as part of its plan to foray into retail, Chairman Pradeep Jain said.

The company, in a release to the Bombay Stock Exchange, also named an independent director for the venture.

The developer is pursuing its retail plans even as consumer spending is expected to slow hurt by a series of interest rate hikes by the Reserve Bank of India to contain inflation, which is at a 13-year high.

Parsvnath Retail, a subsidiary of Parsvnath Developers, will build 21 projects with a saleable area of 4.77 million sq ft and open 50-75 outlets in the next five years, which will include super markets, hypermarkets, premium boutique stores and convenience stores, among others. The company is also developing 114 multiplexes across the country, it said.

The company, however, did not disclose any investment figures.

DLF and other property developers in the country have announced similar plans to tap the growing potential of the sector. Parsvnath's foray will pitch it against other corporate retail chains such as Future Group, Relaince Retail, Aditya Birla Retail and Tata group's Trent, among others.

The domestic retail market, which is currently valued at $511 billion, is projected to grow to $833 billion in the next five years, according to retail consultancy AT Kearney.

The company has entered into concessional agreements with the Delhi Metro Railway Corporation (DMRC) on a build-operate and transfer (BOT) basis, which will enable the company to develop shopping malls and multiplexes at 13 stations, comprising 3 million sq ft, it said.

Commenting on the company's reported plans of a possible tie-up with French retailer Carrefour for retail operations in the country, Jain said: "We will announce a tie-up once we sign the documents."

According to property consultancy CB Richard Ellis, nearly 100 million sq ft of retail property development is in the pipeline. "The situation of over-supply and saturation resulting in the subsequent correction of rentals may occur in certain pockets and micro-markets in the short to medium term,'' said the CB Richard Ellis report.

Parsvnath Retail has appointed R J Kamath as an independent director on its board. "It is to bring more focus to the vertical and integrated development with the existing real estate activities," said an official from the Parsvnath.

On asked about why the company is moving into a sector that is bearing the brunt of high inflation, Jain said: "We are not worried about it. We will pass on to consumers rise in manpower costs or the rental increase," he said.

DLF, the country's largest developer, has tied up with Italian retail brands Giorgio Armani and Salvatore Ferragamo to set up their stores across the country. DLF has announced a dozen malls across the country and a similar number of malls are in planning stage.

The company is building The Emporio in Vasant Kunj in Delhi, which is expected to house many global luxury brands. Unitech, the country's number two realtor, has confined its plans to the development of malls. It runs two malls in the National Capital Region and has announced 15 malls in the coming years with an investment of Rs 20,000 crore.

"Though the market is very big, if you do not have the strategy right, success will be hard to come by. Realtors do have some synergies in the retail sector but at the same time, many of the stores are closing due to high rentals," said R Subramanian, promoter of food and grocery chain Subhiksha.

Future Group's joint venture with French brand Etam has closed five stores across the country and the RPG group's Spencer's has relocated 40 stores due to high rentals.

BS Reporter in Mumbai