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Atul Ruia on why Chennai is a good bet for Palladium

25 Apr , 2018  

After Mumbai, Palladium has opened doors in the surprising southern city. Ruia tells us why he has his bets on Chennai’s luxury consumers

 

Ashwin Rajagopalan

 

Almost 10 years after the debut of Palladium Mumbai, Phoenix unveils the brand’s second home—this time, in Chennai. The choice of Chennai for Phoenix’s luxe retail destination may have come as a surprise to many, but Atul Ruia, Joint Managing Director of Phoenix Mills believes that Chennai’s strong growth story and retail credentials justify their decision.

The Palladium brand has set quite a legacy already…

We set the benchmark for luxury shopping in India in 2008 with the launch of the first Palladium in Mumbai. Palladium changed the face of luxury retail in India, not just with the brands on offer, but with our laser focus on customer experience. We work closely with our retail partners by not just providing them the right ambience to host their brands, but also continuously working with them to create luxury events and programmes around the year to promote them

 

Performance artist Anindita Dutta used clay to depict love and loss in a five-minute act at the mall on opening day

Performance artist Anindita Dutta used clay to depict love and loss in a five-minute act at the mall on opening day

 

What will Palladium Chennai offer consumers?

Our choice of brands at Palladium Mumbai is one of the key reasons for Palladium’s success. It’s the same with Chennai—we’ve strived for the right brand mix, finding the balance between international brands and homegrown successes. Cherry-picked high-street brands such as H&M and Shoppers Stop will complement the luxe brands. You will notice that these high-street brands have worked to upscale their store fronts to blend in to the mall. Palladium Chennai is home to the first Nike Kicks store in the country and only the second Kate Spade store in India. It will ultimately host 70 brands; 30 of these stores are already operational.

Why is Chennai, a city traditionally known for its simplicity, the right market for Palladium right now?

Phoenix Market City has running here successfully for five years now; we chose the Velachery as it helps us access the city’s fast-growing segment of young consumers and influencers. Our strategy of locating Palladium next to the large Phoenix Market City keeps with our effective strategy at Lower Parel in Mumbai. Chennai has demonstrated strong potential—we have seen quite a few international brands taste success at Phoenix Market City and at other retail destinations here. The city’s unique geographic position also sees a large inflow of visitors from South East Asia and Africa. 10% of the annual footfalls (of 12 million) at Phoenix Market City are from international visitors. These customers, along with Chennai’s well-heeled consumers, will be the key drivers for our luxe destination. Brands such as Coach, Michael Kors and Tumi have already built a cult following here.

 

Ms. Gayatri Ruia & Mr. Atul Ruia, Joint Managing Director of Phoenix Mills

Ms. Gayatri Ruia & Mr. Atul Ruia, Joint Managing Director of Phoenix Mills

 

Art plays a big part at the mall…

It starts with the exteriors, which are inspired by the tufting on a Chanel bag. Envisioned by celebrated architect Benoy with interiors by Urban Studio, the mall has dramatic art installations; the ceiling is a tribute to the Sistine Chapel. It’s all part of our vision for Palladium Chennai to be recognised as one of the finest luxe malls in the world. French light sculptor Patrick Rimoux, whose lighting installations include the Gare du Nord in Paris, has worked on video-mapping on the ceiling of the mall. Shilpa Gupta’s engaging installation, Shadow 3, projects visitors’ shadows as they pass by. This accomplished Indian artist has been feted at Tate Modern and the Guggenheim in New York City.

 

The Palladium mall in Chennai

The Palladium mall in Chennai

 

What are your future plans with Palladium Chennai?

We are evaluating adding a residential tower or an office complex on top of Palladium. This could see us add another 20 floors to the existing mall structure. We also have over 6.5 million square feet of leasable space across India and we are building another seven malls. These should be up and running over the next five years.

 

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