The  great  retail race


Retail is in a race to expand in Goa as shops turn to stores and in turn into supermarkets. The searing pace will continue as new players enter the fray and existing players continue to invest in new outlets, reports SHOMA PATNAIK

Goa’s retail industry is in a race to expand. In the last few years, while industry in Goa is hampered by lack of infrastructure, power and facilities demand, retail businessmen are sprinting ahead in adding new outlets. Existing retailers are expanding and new players are coming into the fray. Not surprisingly, retail is the most vibrant business segment these days with no complaints of lackluster market from those in the fray.

Goa’s latest entrant to the industry is Delfino’s in Porvorim, owned by Prakash Pereira who soon after opening a superstore in Candolim began work on his second outlet. The new Delfino’s Hymart which opened just 10 days back is on the lines of supermarket chains found in the metros. The place that sprawls over an area of 700 sq mts with two floors is probably the best example of how retail has changed in Goa.

The ground floor is currently in operation, says Pereira, who also plans to add a food court, a medicine outlet and a florist in the outside premises. The first floor of the building will have household products and cutlery, he says, making Delfino’s on par with the best names in the retail trade.

Pereira, whose family business interests are in stores (Champs), hotels and restaurants, says that he decided to get deeper into consumer goods, viz retailing, after tasting success in his first outlet and realising the huge market potential of the market. Goan consumers, he adds, are ready for supermarkets selling veggies and farm produce because they want food that is hygienically handled and preserved.

Interestingly, Pereira will soon have company with a shopping mall and Big Bazaar coming up close to where his outlet is currently placed. But he is not worried as the market is large enough for everybody with all players getting a share of the “growing retail pie.”

By all accounts, Goa’s retail industry is thriving. It is reflected in the robust expansion plans of players and in the transformation of the sector from small shopkeepers to large super store owners.

The Magson’s chain in the last two years grew rapidly to 10 outlets, says Kirit Maganlal, founder, Magson’s Group.

The 11th store, he informs, just opened in Ponda on Saturday and the 12th outlet is set to open soon in Fatorda. In the next financial year, the network is being expanded to include another store at Kadamba Plateau, says Maganlal.

Another retail outlet that has burgeoned is Panaji-based Poshak which recently opened its third store in Porvorim. Meanwhile, a check around reveals a lateral shift taking place in the industry with two high-end retail chains – D’ziners and Bridal from Margao, setting up stores in Panaji.

Goa’s retail industry in Mapusa is also expanding, says Sahil Kavlekar who opened up a new floor in Kavlekar’s Neo recently. In the coming months, he plans to step up investment with plans of adding another floor of women’s clothing and accessories.

Retail’s great future in Goa, says Maganlal, is the reflection of its long-term prospects throughout India. The sector, he adds, is growing at the rate of 20 per cent per annum which is not a mean feat considering the slow pace of 7 per cent that the rest of industry is growing.


Emerging hubs like Porvorim will drive future growth

Fast growing Porvorim is the nucleus of retail in Goa. Magson’s, Poshak, new restaurants, super markets, Dominos, and now Delfino’s Hymart have opened up in Porvorim, thus resulting in plenty of places to shop. A shopping mall, Inox and Big Bazaar are next in the pipeline which means that Porvorim will continue to be a happening place for consumption in the years ahead.

Porvorim at one time was considered a suburb of Panaji, but today it is called a ‘twin city’ thanks to rapid development. The place has become a huge residential complex, point out observers, although it is spared the presence of tall buildings. Porvorim’s limits are being stretched continuously as development is moving downwards towards riverside villages. Thus, for the retail industry, Porvorim clientele now includes residents from Socorro, Sangolda and from Guirim near Mapusa.

Porvorim’s attractiveness as a location, says Luis Tavora, Poshak, is because of the presence of new residential colonies. The place is also appealing as a site because it is bang out in the open and on the road to Panaji. Travellers to the airport from the beach belt have to pass through Porvorim, thus making it an ideal place for footfalls and for shopping.

Strangely, Porvorim for its construction boom in recent years lacked a proper market for vegetables and household products for a long time, with residents having to travel to Mapusa for groceries and Betim for fish. The retail industry therefore found it ripe for development as any marketplace coming up in Porvorim has a huge advantage of captive customers.

The city’s growth, according to industry watchers, started with the shift of the Secretariat in early 2000 and is expected to continue with plans of moving the High Court along with government offices. The construction of the third Mandovi Bridge will accelerate the pace of development in future.

Like Porvorim, the retail industry is also optimistic about new consumption hubs at Kadamba Plateau in the future. Development of Kadamba Plateau is taking place right from Old Goa and the presence of sprawling residential complexes means that it is another Porvorim in the making, says a prominent player. New retail hubs are also coming up in parts of Margao which means that that there is plenty of steam for the industry to do well in Goa, is the general opinion.