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USD 75-80 million PE investment expected in retail real estate in 2016: JLL


Anuj Puri, Chairman and Country Head, JLLThe following is the report by Anuj Puri, Chairman & Country Head, JLL India

The retail sector can look forward to a more cheerful 2016, given some good initiatives taken by the government. In 2015, single-brand retail saw a relaxation in sourcing norms, which is expected to rack up FDI inflows in the times to come. Moreover, in the Budget 2016-17, 100 pc overseas capital was allowed in processed food retailing through the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) route.

Already, the FDI inflow in retail trading increased between October 2014 and September 2015 to USD 70.75 million. This – coupled with economic stability, liberalisation of the FDI policy and improvement in the consumer sentiment – is expected to help global brands witness a very conducive environment for investment into Indian retail as well as retail real estate sectors. Add to this the steady rise in shoppers’ desire to consume foreign brands due to increased brand awareness, and the scenario looks even more inviting.

As more and more global brands realise this, they are expected to enter India in 2016. This will make the development of world-class malls, having superlative designs and ambiance, the need of the hour. Retail real estate has been constantly evolving in response to changing consumer, brands and retailers’ preferences but the evolution is bound to become faster in the days ahead. This will lead to the emergence of stronger retail real estate players, who may manage to get private equity (PE) investment in the coming years.

PE investment has been largely confined to a few retail players in India. In 2015, PE investment into retail properties alone was USD 39mn, and in 2016, it is expected to be in the range of USD 75-80mn.

What else will happen in 2016?


In 2016, PE may also go into select mall investments, especially in under-represented markets or for a buyout of mature assets. JLL was the first to say that single-brand retail companies will find more reason to explore the Indian market thanks to relaxation of sourcing norms and that technology-led retail will start entering in single-brand retail store category in 2016. These companies will also be able to undertake eCommerce business independently.

Moreover, as quality mall space is coming up with strong pre-commitments, it indicates that retailers continue to remain bullish about the long-term India consumption story. Retailers are already starting to experiment with the formats, sizes for the same brands – adapting to markets – as they start moving up the value chain.

At the same time, the lack of quality retail space will continue to cast its shadow in 2016. Retailers will have to redo their real estate strategy and adopt a flexible approach customised to different micro-markets. Investment by both home-grown and international brands will strengthen in tier-II and tier-III markets as they expand beyond tier-I cities. Investment by large players will also be seen in 2016.