Global retail market has reached pre-Covid levels: Lulu Group

Global retail market has reached pre-Covid levels: Lulu Group

The global retail market, including India, has almost reached the pre-Covid level. A full recovery is expected very soon with the renewed demand and bounce back of retail, said M.A. Yusuff Ali – CMD, Lulu Group.

Lulu Group has faced a delay of its three mall projects in the country due to the disruption caused by the pandemic and the subsequent lockdown impacting the retail industry the hardest.

“While no business has been immune to the pandemic over the last two years, I am confident that it is just a matter of time before the retail sector bounces back. We faced some delays in the projects, but there were no plans to drop any investment plans because of the COVID-19 created business situation,” said Yusuff.

LuLu Group International has committed Rs 5000 crore to develop retail malls across Bangalore, Trivandrum and Lucknow. The firm had earlier planned to open these stores last year. However, the outbreak of pandemic globally halted its plan.

“India holds a huge potential in the retail sector, and there is no slowing down of investment from LuLu Group globally. The second investment phase will be a sizeable amount in India over the coming years,” said Ali.

The firm’s two projects – in Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) and Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) are expected to open by the end of this year and early next year. The group has also extended its second retail destination, an 8 lakh sqft Global Mall in Bangalore. While the Lulu Hypermarket – the giant Hypermarket in Bengaluru is spread across 2 lakh sqft, and Funtura is set up across 60,000 sft, the largest indoor entertainment zone in India.

At the onset of the pandemic, consumer behaviour shifted towards ‘conscious buying’, leading to a significant shift in consumer purchase behaviour across physical retail and E-commerce. The F&B, E-commerce, pharmaceuticals, and the traditional grocery retailers as the top-performing sectors witnessed steady growth despite the pandemic.

The Abu-Dhabi based firm plans to further expand to more tier I and tier-II cities in the coming years to tap into the growing retail market in the country. “We will set up more than one store in big cities, but smaller cities will have only one store. We see a revival across our malls globally, including India,” he added.

With an annual turnover worth $ 7.4 billion, and a workforce of over 50,000 globally, its business portfolio ranges from hypermarket operations to shopping mall development, manufacturing and trading of goods, food processing plants, wholesale distribution, hospitality assets, and real estate development across 22 countries. Currently, Lulu Group operates 215 Lulu stores and 23 shopping malls across the GCC, Egypt, India, and the Far East, serving services to more than 1,100,000 shoppers daily.

Green shoots of recovery were witnessed in India’s retail segment with significant improvement in sales and getting closer to the pre-COVID levels. Delhi and Bangalore are leading the sectors’ growth with an expected addition of over 5 Mn Sq. ft of the overall organised retail stock respectively followed by Hyderabad expected to add over 3 Mn Sq.

CBRE South Asia in its latest report titled ‘India Retail Reboot 2021, said the report highlights that India’s organised retail stock has reached 64.3 Mn Sq. ft as of H1 2021 and is expected to cross 82 Mn Sq. ft by 2023.

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