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Thursday, Jul 25, 2002

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DLF Universal to position Gurgaon as shopping hub

Ajita Shashidhar

NEW DELHI, July 24

CENTRALLY air-conditioned malls with piped music, high-speed lifts and escalators, adequate parking space, an entertainment arcade, multi-cuisine restaurants and a host of national and international brands - DLF Universal is all set to market Gurgaon as a shopping and entertainment hub, by announcing the launch of the DLF Mega Mall and the DLF City Centre.

Speaking to Business Line, Mr T.C. Goyal, Managing Director, DLF Universal Ltd, said, "By developing lavish residential condominiums along with spacious office complexes, we have succeeded in making the `walk-to-work' concept possible. The only thing that is lacking in this rapidly-developing suburban is quality shopping malls, which will be taken care of once these malls are operational. People needn't travel to South Delhi for shopping."

"Both the Mega Mall and the City Centre have been crowd pullers, and their success story has enthused us to build another mall next to the Bristol Hotel on the Mehrauli - Gurgaon road. These malls are a step towards a retail revolution in our country and are a destination for shoppers. We have capitalised on opportunities to strengthen our overall offering by introducing a variety of categories and brands in our malls, he said, adding, "Spread over a vast expanse of land, these malls strive to offer exclusive value-added items that are unique in styling and look."

Mr Goyal said that the major players who have leased space in these malls include the Dubai-based retail chain, LifeStyle International, which has taken up 52,000 sq.ft. space in the City Centre, while BigJos has taken up 32,000 sq.ft. space in the Mega Mall. The other players include Meena Bazaar, Lacoste, Heritage and Zodiac. "We have also ensured that there is a good mix of national and international restaurants, for which we have given out space to restaurant chains such as Moets, Barista, Embassy, Rodeo, Hot Breads and Chopsticks. All the restaurants put together will occupy between 18,000 and 25,000 sq.ft. space in both the malls," remarked Mr Goyal.

He also mentioned that the company was planning to get international mall managers to organise entertainment shows, product launches and promos. "We are going to have a host of promos and celebrity shows on a regular basis. The Mega Mall would also have an open-air theatre, where we are going to conduct, theatre, painting and fancy dress competitions," he says. "These malls will soon become a part of the lifestyle of the people of Gurgaon," he added.

On the entertainment front, Mr Goyal said that apart from the multiplexes in both the malls, the company also plans to lease out space to a couple of pubs and night clubs.

The Mega Mall, according to Mr Goyal, will be commissioned by October this year, while the City Centre will be ready by January next year.

Apart from DLF, there are other players such as Sahara and MGF, who are also in the process of setting up mega malls in Gurgaon. According to Mr Vivek Seth, Marketing Manager, Sahara India Commercial Corporation Ltd, the Sahara Mall, which is likely to be commissioned by December this year, will have flagship stores such as Pantaloon, which has taken up 17,000 sq.ft. space.

The emergence of these mega malls will definitely give Gurgaon a facelift as a shopping and entertainment destination, but the industry analysts feel that the supply of these malls are more than the actual demand. "The developers have to watch out that they don't oversupply," remarked Mr Sanjay Verma, Executive Director, Cushman & Wakefield.

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