Chennai’s Spencer’s Plaza it once was! [Picture source]
RPG Group’s retail venture has been through acquisition of Spencer’s, the mainly south-based supermarket chain. It’s in Chennai that an Englishman JW Spencer started a department store in 1860s on the city’s spinal chord, Mount Road (Anna Salai). Later, after a devastating fire in 1983, the entire stretch of land, which is quite sizeable, was taken up for building a super mall.
And super mall it is. Spencer’s Plaza is the largest integrated shopping mall in Chennai, now said to be commanding at least a million square feet of space. Many of RPG Group’s other retail forays like Food World made their smallish debut at Spencer’s Plaza. My favorites at the plaza, when I lived in Chennai early 90s, apart from enjoying coffee at Food World’s stand-in counter, was to scout for fresh additions to craft items at Ajanta Art Gallery (I don’t know if it’s still there).
Cutting down to present, RPG Group is now launching Spencer’s stores in Kolkata starting this month. It now has 4 formats – express, daily, super and hyper. There will be 7 Spencer’s stores, 4 daily, 2 express and 1 super coming up across the city in 2 months. Thereafter, it’ll be the turn of 3 hyper-stores, each about 50,000 sq ft to go for, at South City, Mani Square (on EM Bypass near Apollo Hospital) and RB Avenue.
With Pantaloons launching their largest shopping mall at Kankurgachi few days back, clearly Kolkata is emerging as a hot destination for large-format retail ventures.
Related reading: Kolkata of 2007