It’s time to go ga-ga over garments. Long labelled a fashion fallow-land, the city is all set to dress up in the stripes of the times, with the biggies in business making a beeline to clothe Calcuttans.
After Shoppers’ Stop, Ritu Kumar, Fabindia, Anokhi, Cotton World, Buddy Davis, Satya Paul and Be, it’s now the turn of international giants Marks & Spencer to train their retail radar on town. By next year, the leading chain from the UK, selling clothing, foods, homeware and financial services, will set up shop here.
“By 2004, we plan to open a store in Calcutta, considering the potential it offers to a quality brand like Marks & Spencer,” Ashok Kaul, CEO, Marks & Spencer India, said on Monday. Marks & Spencer, with a presence in 30 countries, has a turnover of £8 billion-plus. After Delhi, Mumbai and now Gurgaon, it plans to expand to “Calcutta, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai”, he told The Telegraph.
If Calcuttans have to wait a while for Marks & Spencer to hit town, they have enough excitement in trendy textiles to look forward to right now.
Shoppers’ Stop, “with the best of branded garments”, has taken up 60,000 sq ft of anchor space in Forum, the lifestyle mall on Elgin Road.
“We are bringing 300 brands under one roof. We should generate an average footfall of 2,500-3,000 a day and will be disappointed if we can’t deliver business worth Rs 40 crore in the next 12 months,” said B.S. Nagesh, managing director and CEO, Shoppers’ Stop Ltd.
There’s more in store from the Pantaloons stable too, the costume king that has rewritten retail rules in the city. The chain, recording Rs 4.5-crore sales from its 22, Camac Street outlet in December alone, plans to set up another big-format store in south Calcutta, besides two more Big Bazaar outlets.
“Our Gariahat store is growing at 50 per cent and things can only get better in Calcutta in terms of the garments business, as the disposable income swells and latest global trends become easily available,” said Kishore Biyani, managing director, Panlatoon (India) Pvt Ltd.