Today, a city’s real estate success formula depends on quite a few other industries than just housing. Housing demand is a natural by-product of the success of businesses and industries that drive consumption and create jobs. Chennai’s strengths as an automobile hub has already earned it the tag of ‘the Detroit of the East’, but it has also emerged as one of the leading IT/ITeS destinations of the country. Both these industries drive job growth, which in turn drives housing demand, but there are at least two other industries that share a deep symbiotic relationship with Chennai’s overall real estate viability – the organized retail and warehousing & logistics sectors.
Economic downturn or no economic downturn, Indians love to shop. Some consumer items like cosmetics (the fabled ‘lipstick effect’), fast fashion and electronics like smartphones are actually beating the current trends, with the growth figures in these industries still firmly in the green. Malls are the best places to shop for these - and to enjoy a few hours in clean, air-conditioned and visually appealing environs.
Contrary to doom sayers’ predictions when the Indian e-commerce boom began revving up in earnest, malls are still very much the pièce de résistance of the Indian retail industry. South India has not been left behind, with the main Southern cities displaying bracing growth of the organized retail sector.
As per ANAROCK research, the top 7 cities in India currently have 105 operational malls sprawling over 50 million sq. ft area, of which Chennai has 10 malls spanning over 5.9 million sq. ft. area. Organised retail activity in Chennai may not have caught up with Bengaluru ‘s pace as yet, but it is picking up. In fact, at least 10 new malls covering over 5.45 million sq. ft. area are slated to come up in Chennai by 2022-end.
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