The flavour of Kolkata

The flavour of Kolkata
The bridge, the river and kids' play. Brilliantly captured by Sujay Kumar Das.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Retail fever arrives

The city saw two retail addresses throwing themselves open in the span of the last fortnight of this month. Haldiram Food City opposite CC & FC and Orchid Point between Kankurgachhi and Phoolbagan. The first raised the retail quotient of the heart of South Kolkata and the latter put North Kolkata on contemporary retail map.

A visit to Haldiram Food City on March 27, the opening day, was a pleasant experience. The five-storeyed, 80000 sq. ft. property can be called a mini food mall. The ground floor houses a Haldiram's store with extensive mithai and namkeen counters and sit-in facility, the first floor is a vegetarian food court serving North Indian, South Indian, Bengali, Chinese and continental cuisine, the second floor is a supermarket- Haldiram's first foray into daily needs retailing- and the third and fourth floors are banquets.

The sprawling, well-stocked supermarket, with promise to serve the freshest of fruits and vegetables among other things, is also the best in the area in terms of location and convenience. Among the other two present in the area, the Food bazaar atop Pantaloons Gariahat is not very inviting thanks to a small elevator and a steep staircase. And the C3 at Gariahat Mall can't boast of as good a location as Haldiram's. The roadside glass wall provides a complete view of the world outside. The fare in the food court is reasonably priced (A plate of plain dhokla costs Rs 10) and it serves combo meals across cuisines. The ground floor store and the food court combined is the expansion of the hugely successful Chowringhee branch model (Located at Exide junction). There are escalators to move between floors at ease.

While the property was under development at such a prime (May I say coveted) place, replacing an old building, it generated enough curiosity. The selection of location, hence, is bang on. Also the area merits a food court (The only other is at the top floor of Gariahat Mall, which is not as prized a location as this is). The property mix is very good and it looks set to attract healthy footfall.

Nobody can miss the giant Pantaloons store at Kankurgachhi. It looks so unusually huge, one feels like a dwarf standing in front of the fascade. As earlier mentioned in the blog, this is the largest Pantaloons store In India- all of 80000 sq. ft. The top floor, whose next attraction is a food court, hosts Food Bazaar and Depot- the book and music retail format of Future Group which owns Pantaloons. The store also houses Future Group's new electronic products retail format e-zone, which is, simply called, a heavenly experience. It has an experience zone, where you can sit relaxed and experience the products placed on the opposite wall, and a separate room for home theatre experience. This is Kolkata's first store of the group where Food Bazaar is part of the store from day one (Each of the other two Pantaloons stores added Food Bazaar atop later on). Just for record, this Food Bazaar is much bigger and spacious that its Gariahat counterpart. Also in true modern mall style, escalators replace stairs.

Kankurgachhi is the contemporary face of North Kolkata. It has a sizeable population of high-income people. Hence the location merits a store of this stature.

Watch this space for update on further inroads of retail fever which is set to rock the city in this year.