The retail business in India is set to witness heady growth in the years ahead with the number of shopping malls in Asia's third largest economy rising to a staggering 358 by the end of 2007, says a study by Images fashion magazine.
The country has some 100 malls now, with the National Capital Region (NCR) and Mumbai accounting for maximum numbers of the gleaming shopping centers, says the study.
Based on a complete list of shopping center developments taking place across the country, the projection for listed developments by 2007 is 358, the study, which was made public recently, quoted an expert as saying.
According to Images, there are a total of 96 operational malls in India. The number will rise to 158 malls by the end of the current year.
Droves of middle-class Indians have broken off their love of traditional stand-alone Indian stores that have no air conditioning, organized parking and other public amenities.
Malls throughout the country are getting bigger as they are now being positioned as a one-stop-shop for shopping, entertainment, leisure and eating-out needs rather than a place only for shopping for fashion products.
Organized retailing is projected to grow at the rate of 25-30 percent per annum to touch 8 billion US dollars by 2005 and 24 billion US dollars by 2010, said the Images study.
Investments in the retail sector are estimated at between 400 million US dollars and 500 million US dollars over the next two to three years, and over 4 billion US dollars by the end of 2010, it added.
The study said the fast growing middle class population, the rise in women work force and consumerism over the decade were the major forces in driving demand in the retail sector.