TIMES NEWS NETWORK, PANAJI, 8 September 2006
Goa, once a haven for holidaymakers looking for a break, is
now set to zoom up top retailers’ charts. The union territory
will soon see an influx of major brands, with real estate giants. Not surprisingly, land prices are ready to shoot through the roof.
Goa is going through a ‘revamp’ with companies buying large spaces in its cities with ‘vast potential to grow’ to set up malls and shopping arcades. Builders like Gera developers, Parasvanath and DLF (all first time entrants to Goa) plan to develop offices-cum-shopping malls.
In addition, many branded retailers are mulling exclusive showrooms here. As a result, land value has shot up with average prices of Rs 2,500 to Rs 3, 000 per sq ft having doubled. In places like the capital Panjim, prices have increased five-fold. Land prices are expected to rise further in the next ten years.
“The Goa market is expanding very fast, much beyond our expectations,” says Sudipta Sen Gupta, senior general manager (marketing), Cafe Coffee Day (CCD), which now plans to shift its regional head office for Karnataka and Goa from Mangalore to Goa.
The company, which had initially planned to stay open only for the nine tourist months (late September to May) has received ‘tremendous response from locals’ with sales increasing to 175% of national sales. CCD plans to open more outlets, apart from setting up bases en route to Goa at places like Karwar and Hubli.
Subway too has decided to add six more outlets to its existing one at Baga beach — a stark contrast to a few years back when coffee giant Barista shut shop soon after opening in Goa. The hosting of International Film Festival (IFFI) since December ’04 has created a ‘brand image’ for Goa, say market analysts, adding Goans are brand conscious. So, no time is wasted in ‘educating people about various products’.
IFFI, which brought the state’s only two multiplexes, has created a movie-going culture. Says Manoj Bhatia, CEO, Inox Leisure, “Flexible pricing and attractive schemes has helped sales move from 600 to 800 patrons to over 5,000 on weekends.”
Goa has the highest per capita income in India along with English speaking cosmopolitan set-up that allows people to experiment, thereby making it attractive to businessmen. In addition, the state government’s initiative to start SEZs is expected to move a large chunk of high-spending Indians from large cities to Goa.
Amar Yadav FMCG head of Vishal Mega Mart that recently opened the state’s only retail mall is overwhelmed by the response. “The spending capacity is very high here, we plan to open one more mall in south Goa,” he adds. Market analysts feel that influx of domestic tourists to Goa is driving the state’s growth story (18 lakh Indians visited Goa last year).
Indians’ familiarity with brands, coupled with lower land rates than big cities is attracting investors. But Devangshu Dutta, chief executive, Third Eyesight, feels investments into smaller places is a natural trend since expansion in larger cities has reached near saturation.