Delhi’s iconic Khan Market has historically enjoyed its status as a superior retail destination. With renewed interest from retailers and a facelift in the works, the location is getting a new lease of life as it ranks among some of the highest rated retail destinations of the world.

As the term ‘Khan Market Gang’ gets thrown around and a proposal to rename this retail hub to ‘Valmiki Market’ is being negotiated, Khan Market is, once again, under the public scanner. It suffices to say that all this attention garnered by the tony market will have some kind of an impact on the commercial viability of this locality. Whether these factors will bring growth or stagnancy to the market remains to be seen.

Avneesh Sood, Director, Eros Group, says, "New Delhi's Khan Market is the most expensive retail location in India. Khan Market is leading in the retail sector because it is centrally located in the national capital, flanked by high-end residential catchment areas, with many global and national brands' stores in its vicinity. From eateries to fashion brands, the place offers everything that is high-end, exclusive and luxury."

Global renown for Khan Market

Khan Market was the 24th most expensive retail location in 2017, globally, according to a Cushman and Wakefield research report. The same publication also read that the average retail rent that this locality fetches is anywhere between Rs 1,200 and Rs 1,600 per sq ft per month, which is one of the highest among Asia-Pacific (APAC) countries.

In the APAC rankings, Khan Market was ranked at 11 while DLF Galeria in Gurgaon clinched the 19th position and Linking Road in Mumbai followed at number 20. The high ranking for Indian markets was due to a devaluation in the monthly retail rents in the peer markets of the APAC region.

The Indian retail space sector

India has consistently occupied the rank of the fastest growing large-scale economy in the world. A national tax and currency reforms have kept investors on their feet, vying for prime retail space in top markets of the country. Investment has been strong, thanks to a widespread confidence in the economic reform agenda of the Government.

With an ever-growing middle class and increase in consumer spending, India overtook China for the top spot in the previous year’s AT Kearney Global Retail Development Index. This indicates a robust commercial market in the country, which means retailers will keep competing for space in some of the most sought after metropolitan retail hubs such as Delhi’s Khan Market and Mumbai’s Colaba Causeway.

Sectors that see most movement

Khan Market and other retail centres in India have observed caution in investment activities since the NBFC crisis, even as leasing across main streets and shopping complexes kept up its momentum. Most key micro-markets in India witnessed an increase in leasing activity, led by the food and beverages and fashion and lifestyle sectors.

India’s aggressive growth strategy and a favourable consumer demographic has created an environment conducive to growth in various retail sectors. The anticipation of a more relaxed entry policy by the Government, especially in the food and beverages sector, has increased the number of global retailers turning towards India.

Infrastructure to get a facelift

The New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) is making plans to redevelop some of the prominent markets of the city, Khan Market being among the frontrunners for a major facelift. The market will be retrofitted with state of the art facilities such as disabled-friendly walkways and ramps, LED screens presenting maps and directions and various fire safety norms like widening of staircases upto 1.5 m and eight feet wide evacuation corridors.

The plan also includes the construction of a common utility duct under the middle lanes of Khan Market for electricity wires, telephone and internet cables. The civic agency has also approached the Union housing and urban development ministry to allot a plot for the development of a multi-level parking facility near the market. To ease parking for visitors to the market the parking facility will be constructed at Amrita Shergil Marg.

With these new improvements and historical renown that Khan Market has accumulated for itself over the years, there is no slowing down the retail leasing boom in this locality.

Avdesh Bansal, proprietor of Space4U avers, “A change as trivial as renaming the locality to ‘Valmiki Market’ will not faze the growth potential for retail leasing in Khan Market. Leasing rates will keep increasing, what with the global demand for retail space here. It is just a question of how high the rents for retail space will get until they surpass global standards.”