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Friday, October 24, 2008

What a bargain!: Delhi goes ga ga on shopping

As any fashionista would agree, shopping is not just about buying the latest handbag or dress.
A trip to the mall or shopping centre is a chance to meet up with friends and catch up on the latest trends and gossip.
More like, “Oh, how I just I love the Sabyasachi sari at Kimaya”. Or “so-and-so’s handbag is so last season”.For Delhi ladies, the Select Citywalk Mall in Saket, the city’s trendy shopping district, is just the place to catch up over coffee and conversation.
Opened last October, the mall has become something of a Mecca for serious shoppers and mall rats alike. The 13 lakh sq ft mall features over 125 stores including Aldo, MAC, Calvin Klein, Mango, Promod, FCUK, Kimaya, Clinique, Good Earth, Gant, Kipling, Replay, Pantaloon, Esprit and Tommy Hilfiger, all to attract the style-conscious ‘South Delhi woman’.According to Pranay Sinha, the retail convener of the Delhi State Council of the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), the South Delhi woman is “an emblem of pluralism”.
“She keeps her karva chauth fast during the day and hits the vodka lounge in the evening. She wears her halter top with as much ease as her pallu." And she is definitely not shy of spending.
To illustrate, on an average, a family in Delhi spends over Rs 2 lakh per year, and saves a quarter. Delhi can easily be called the country's consumer capital.
At an estimated consumer spend of Rs 75,000 crore, it is over 40 per cent larger than Mumbai. Not surprisingly, Sinha is working with the CII and Delhi government to make the city a retail destination."Select Citywalk is my favourite hangout place," says Stuti Jhunjhunwala, a regular. "Not only is it close to where I stay, but I also like the overall buzz in the atmosphere. And it's like an international shopping experience. It's like shopping in almost any other city in the world."On an average day, the mall sees footfalls to the tune of 17,000 people, which goes up to over 38,000 over weekends. Turn left or right in any store in the mall, and chances are you will see shoppers like Jhunjhunwala, carrying bags filled with goodies from the stores.Easily visible from across the mall, the typical Delhi fashionista is dressed to be seen. She will be wearing her best dress with a matching bag, and will have at least one bag (even a lipstick from an expensive store) on her arm.Of course, retailers aren't complaining. Nilesh Ved, the proprietor of Major Brands, the retailer of international brands like Mango, Promod, Aldo, La Senza and Charles & Keith in India, says that the Citywalk Mall is the number one mall in sales for its brands. 
We have seen a 27 per cent conversion, which is the highest in NCR," says Ved. "The Delhi consumer is not price conscious, she is fashion forward. She knows what is happening in London or New York or Milan," he says.It is no wonder that the National Capital Region (NCR) has the highest proliferation of shopping malls in the country. "Delhi likes to make statements," says Sinha. "For retail that's a good thing."


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