Vijayawada is a city on progression and transition. It is getting modernized day by day at great pace, particularly after the bifurcation. Undoubtedly, the cricket Icon Sachin Tendulkar’s recent visit to the city and inauguration of a multiplex-cum-shopping-mall, PVP Square, gave a new momentum to Vijayawada.
As McKinsey, American global management consulting firm, has already foreseen Vijayawada a ‘Global City of the Future’, the visiting of celebrities is becoming a value addition to the city of emerging world class infrastructure.
Speaking to KostaLife, V V M Krishna, President, Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), Vijayawada chapter said Vijayawada is no more a tier II, but a tier I city now.
“With the tremendous potential it has, Vijayawada is best suited for the capital. No other region in the State has what Vijayawada possesses in terms of physical and social infrastructure, in a radius of 30 KM,” he said.
Fast Changing Face- Emergence of Mall Culture
It was generally commented that mall culture was a failure in Vijayawada, which is contrarily an affluent place- a glorified village. The malls that opened with much fanfare, reportedly displayed the blank stares of shut shops. Even in the times of unprecedented boom in the business of real estate, the people, engaged in shopping malls, visiting multiplex theatres and having fun and food at branded eatery joints, was a rare sight. With huge shopping malls or complexes in the city wear an almost deserted look, the traders wary of setting up their businesses here. A majority of the spaces in these multistoried buildings lie vacant.
But, all of a sudden, mall culture is to set root in Vijayawada now. After the announcement of Amaravati as the new capital, there is a rapid change elsewhere. A shopping mall with about 40 per cent of unoccupied space is now being crammed with business outlets. Rs. 125- crore PVP Square, inaugurated by Sachin Tendulkar, is doing well.
The face of the city is fast changing with International brands along with mega structures coming up besides residential and commercial apartments. According to a business analyst, the people of Vijayawada are getting used to shopping in these malls which usually host single brand showrooms or exclusive brands. An analyst shared his views as below
“We, the Vijayawadaians, are very price sensitive and look for cheaper deals. The cost of the commodity is assessed just through window-shopping, which is a free affair. This attitudinal factor made many players keep away from starting businesses in these malls with heavy rentals”
Initially, malls attracted the citizens, because they are obsessive of photo-selfies and they love air-conditioned ambiances and escalators. However, the multiplexes in these shopping malls have been successfully running as the cinema- loving Vijayawadaians throng them often.
Full Fledged Running of Existing Malls
There are already a few renowned brands present in the market. Big Bazaar, M&M, Life Style and Trends are only a few to name. Spanking and sparkly malls- LEPL Icon Mall near Maris Stella and Ripples Mall in Labbipet are attracting crowds in their droves. Mexico-based multiplex operator Cinepolis launched screens in PVP Square. Trendset at Benz Circle is the biggest of the new shopping malls and several reputed brands have already forged tie-ups for space, the promoters of the mall said.
“Vijayawada is not overcrowded, parks and landscapes are not eroded or disappeared and thus, the city is not conducive for family outings. Yet, shopping malls are emerging new destinies in weekends, because it’s facilitating weekly purchases, video games, a meal and most importantly a movie,” one Jagadeesh, a frequent visitor with family, opined.
Gold Rush – Jewelry Fiesta For Shopaholics
The gleaming MG Road in Vijayawada is absolutely about a new kind of shopping experience, especially for those used to jostling the crowds in jewellery stores across the city. The road alone consists of 15 gold shops with four more shops soon to be added. Variety of ornaments, be it earrings, necklaces or bangles, are an accurate work of art, meticulously handcrafted to perfection.
Every big name in jewellery, including Khazana, Kirtilal Kalidas, Tanishq, Reliance Jewels, GRT, Joyalukkas, Mahaveer Jewellers, Anjaneya, Tribhovandas Bhimji Zaveri, Chandana Grand, Malabar, Kalyan, Kalaniketan, Tibarumal Jewels, Bombay Jewellers, Massiddi Lal, Mohammad Khan have their outlet in the city. The average monthly transactions cross Rs.100 crore.
According to sources in Commercial Tax department, ‘Sona Ghar,’ the gold sale and deposit counter of the State Bank of India (SBI) at the bank’s local head office Vijayawada One-Town, pays Rs. One crore a month against one per cent VAT. The average business of Sona Ghar, which is Rs. 100 crore a month, is also a testimony to the citizens’ immense love for the gold.
Business analysts generally call 1990s and early 2000s – a period of jinx for Vijayawada. The city in 1970s and ’80s, witnessed phenomenal rural- urban migration, as Besant road of Vijayawada became chief business destination to the migrants not only from Krishna districts, but also from villages, towns and 3-tier cities in the neighboring districts including Guntur, Khammam and West Godavari.
After a lull, scenario was changed and Bandar Road was suddenly to sport a swanky look with most happening shopping spree.
“We foresaw the change and pioneered to start a big showroom here,” Dinesh Achpeliya, managing director, M&M said.
Parallel this new segment of apparel destinies with all-in- one kind: designer wear, western outfits, perfumes and accessories, there are more than 2,000 textile traders in Vijayawada, doing a business of whopping Rs.100 crore every day.
“Vastralatha and Krishnaveni are hubs of wholesale and retail textile business in the city. Huge quantities of clothes and textiles arrive here from States like Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra Tamil Nadu and West Bengal,” Bachchu Venkata Narasimha Rao, Vice President, AP Textiles Federation told KostaLife.
With the entry of high-end textile showrooms, including Kalanjali, RS Brothers, Kalamandir, Chandana Grand, JC Brothers, Kalaniketan, Twills, K-Lounge and Maanya, new contours were drawn for textile business of the city. The big players have brought with them a whole variability of items within the reach of all segments of shoppers – middle-level and high-end.
In the sector of organized Retail, color, range and buzz were added to Vijayawada with the entry of Retail giants including Big Bazaar, Spencer’s, More and Magna. Shoppers Stop, Lifestyle brought a new sheen to the city’s lifestyle habits.
“In general parlance, Organized Retail is one of burgeoning industries. But, in Vijayawada, it is still in its nascent stage, scaring proliferation. People are slowing moving from their conventional mode of retailing, which is posing grave challenges to new mode. Nevertheless, organized Retail is very promising, experiencing noticeable growth” regional head of a retailing giant said, under the condition of anonymity.
His observations were supported by the statistics in food and grocery retail in Vijayawada, which witnessed a spurt of 14 per cent per annum, in consumers shopping at modern trade. Meanwhile, International retail giant – Walmart, recently started its online wholesale platform to its members in Vijayawada. Best Price, Walmart’s brand in India, in Vijayawada started facilitating its members to shop and book orders online. The e-commerce platform will provide the same range of products as its wholesale stores, including a select variety of fresh fruit and veggies.