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Malls 1

RAHUL SARAF on the DNA of Forum — old and new!

“When we did Forum more than nine years ago, it was on the basis of what the city had and what it deserved. The original Forum was actually a reformatted, upgraded version of AC Market within a mall format. The general feeling was that malls are expensive. Calcutta is one of the few cities where a high street does not exist and hence people were used to shopping in an air-conditioned environment. We felt there was a need to bridge the gap, to offer the city a value-added, holistic shopping experience with entertainment, food and of course some branded stores that didn’t exceed a certain price tag.

Nine years on, Forum is going through repair and renovation. We have a sense of the people who come to Forum, their profile and their tastes. We have to cater to what they desire. The customer is maturing and hence their demands are rising. Indians by nature are value-for-money seekers.

The new brand mix at Forum (see box right) keeps in mind certain things. First and foremost, it has to be high on the fashion quotient, it has to be young and trendy. And of course it cannot be brutally expensive. We are not looking at the international luxury sector; we are focussing on bridge brands that are premium fashion labels. Does Calcutta have a market for the international luxury sector? Well, I’m sure there is — we will have to see the size of the market.” (Picture by Rashbehari Das)