Brands set up shop at transit hubs to cash in on commuter commerce

Synopsis

Delhi, which has one of the largest metro rail networks in the world, earns a major chunk of its revenue through retail leasing. In the national capital region, Gurgaon’s HUDA City Centre metro station houses the stores of Decathlon and H&M, among others, while Nike and Adidas have opened their outlets at Chattarpur metro station.

Delhi, UP and Chennai metro lease space to retail brands, many airports plan Aerocitylike shopping sites.

Transit hubs such as metro stations, high-speed rail corridors, railway stations, airports and areas around them are emerging as the preferred locations for stores for retail and F&B brands that want to target daily commuters, according to experts.

The metro rail operators in Delhi, UP and Chennai have leased space to retail brands, while many airports have planned shopping destinations styled on Delhi’s Aerocity.

Delhi, which has one of the largest metro rail networks in the world, earns a major chunk of its revenue through retail leasing. In the national capital region, Gurgaon’s HUDA City Centre metro station houses the stores of Decathlon and H&M, among others, while Nike and Adidas have opened their outlets at Chattarpur metro station.

For retailers, metro stations are high footfall and high conversion zones and many athleisure brands want to open stores where the daily footfall is over 50,000.

Lucknow metro, which has a Dominos outlet, said more F&B brands are showing interest. Another athleisure brand is looking to open outlets at multiple metro stations and might make an announcement soon, people in the know told ET.

The National Capital Region

(NCRTC), which is executing India’s first Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) project between Delhi and Meerut, has planned to develop stations as retail hubs, taking advantage of the transit-oriented development (TOD) policy of the Delhi and Uttar Pradesh governments.

“By creating an area in and around the station as a retail hub, we managed to get crowds in trains even on weekends,” said Vinay Kumar Singh, NCRTC’s managing director. “On rest of the days, retailers are assured of visitors because of the large number of people that will take the train.”

According to real estate services firm CBRE, demographics would become an even more important measure of site selection and retention, as well as for store type selection for retailers, especially with the easy availability of data and analytics tools.

This growing importance of location is already becoming visible because demand for key sites has remained strong as the workforce starts trickling back to the office. “Footfall for retail & F&B brands is directly impacted by their strategic location. This is one of the key reasons that the major players in the segment prefer locations near transit hubs and high-speed corridors, railway stations and airports,” said Vibhor Jain, managing director – north India at real estate service firm Cushman & Wakefield. “The same holds true for planned ‘aerocities’, which owe their success to the proximity to airports.”

According to a recent study by CBRE, 19% of the retailers want to open stores in the transit hubs. However, while the majority still want to open flagship stores at the city centre, the number of retailers wanting to open stores at transit hubs is growing.

Uttar Pradesh Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (UPMRC) is also leasing retail spaces at Lucknow and Kanpur metro stations. The corporation has leased about 40,000 sq ft of space at metro stations in the Lucknow Metro project and about 15,000 sq ft at stations in the Kanpur Metro priority corridor.

Chennai metro has also come up with a proposal to lease more than 200,000 sq ft to retail outlets. While space inside airports has always been in demand, many cities are developing commercial areas near to the airports on the lines of Aerocity in Delhi.

Wednesday, 31 Aug, 2022

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