The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mall with class for the mass
- Convenience and price USP of retail-food-entertainment centre

Pick up your coffee beans and cold cuts or a new rug for your living room, along with that polo-neck you had been eyeing. Try your hand at the eight-lane bowling alley or catch the latest flick at the plush, four-screen cineplex. Hang out at the trendy pub or grab a bite at the seven-outlet, speciality-cuisine food court. All this without digging too deep into your purse, or going too far from home.

Welcome to The Metropolis, the “first classic suburban mall” inside the multiple-tower highrise development Hiland Park, off the EM Bypass, that promises to cater not only to the well-heeled, but also to the “solid middle-class mass”.

Set to open in June 2004, the 175,000-sq-ft retail-food-entertainment centre, with parking space for 325 cars, will offer an international shopping experience and “value for money”, according to the Hiland Park developers, Calcutta Metropolitan Group (CMG).Thus, while price tags will be “extremely competitive” at the 18,000-sq-ft anchor Big Bazaar, the 12,000-sq-ft food court will be “at least 30 per cent cheaper” than Park Street. The average price for movie tickets at the Fame Metropolis multiplex, to be run by Shringar, will be Rs 70-75, with free home delivery.

“Convenience and price points will be our USPs and merchandising at the mall will complement the high-value format. We are obviously not looking at premium brands, like Swarovsky or Be, and our principal target audience has a lower disposable income than those who frequent the high-street developments,” explains CMG managing director Sumit Dabriwal.

With a population pushing 471,000 within a 10-minute driving distance, the mall hopes to cater to a huge captive catchment area. Food and entertainment will drive the mall, feels Dabriwal. Vishal Kapur and Arvind Mehrotra, promoters of the food court at the mall, feel their spread of north Indian, Oriental, Italian and Bengali cuisine, along with dedicated chaat, fast-food and beverages outlets and a variety of serving sizes would suit both the purse and the palate.

Shravan Shroff of Shringar Cinemas Pvt Ltd is confident of the box-office draw at the 1,000-1,250-seater Fame Metropolis. “Calcutta, for all its film culture, is extremely under-screened,” he says.

While a conventional mall sees six to eight revisits a year on an average, The Metropolis is looking at 12-14 returns a year and with the city's centre of gravity shifting east, “even 40 repeat footfalls” from its immediate surroundings.

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