Enthused by strong recovery in retail consumption, realty major DLF Chairman Rajiv Singh has said the company has initiated the development of new shopping malls and looks to double retail portfolio in next five years.
At present, DLF has a retail footprint of 42 lakh square feet comprising eight properties, including malls and shopping centres, mainly across Delhi-NCR.
In a message to the company's shareholders', he said the company would also scale up development of housing and office projects.
Singh mentioned that the past couple of years have been one of the most challenging and uncertain times experienced across the globe because of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"... Despite the hardships faced in the recent past, your company exhibited strong resilience during this challenging phase and has come out even stronger, delivering a strong performance across all key parameters during the (last) fiscal," he told shareholders in an annual report for 2021-22.
Singh informed that DLF's rental business (office complexes and malls) withstood this challenging phase and is now steadily recovering to normalcy.
"We continue to maintain a positive outlook towards the rental business and consequently are judicially deploying capital to further strengthen and grow the office portfolio by developing safe and sustainable workplaces across geographies including Gurugram, Chennai and Noida," he said.
Given the recovery across the retail segment and consumption trends in India, Singh said the company has also "initiated development of the next line of retail destinations across multiple geographies."
"We hope to double our retail presence in the next 4-5 years with these additions," he said.
In the annual report, the company said that the retail business exhibited strong rebound despite temporary dislocations due to the pandemic. "Footfalls (in shopping malls) are steadily reaching pre-pandemic level with occupancy levels remaining strong at 97 per cent across the retail portfolio," it added.
DLF had in March said it would invest around Rs 2,000 crore to construct two new shopping malls in Gurugram and Goa. It has also started a concept of high-street neighbourhood shopping centres and plans to build at least four such properties.
In the financial year 2021-22, Singh said the company recorded one of the highest new sales bookings in the last decade across its development business, primarily housing.
DLF's sales bookings jumped over two-fold to Rs 7,273 crore during the 2021-22 fiscal year driven by better demand for its properties, especially luxury homes.
The DLF Chairman highlighted that the company's new products (like independent floors in Gurugram) continue to receive encouraging response from the market.
"Enthused by the growing demand coupled with sustained tailwinds supporting the housing demand, we remain committed and focused on scaling up our business by continuously bringing newer and diversified offerings to the market," he said.
On the overall residential market, Singh said the structural recovery in housing demand would continue driven by increasing urbanisation, improving affordability, positive consumer sentiments and growing aspirational needs.
Singh also highlighted that the consolidation amongst larger and credible brands continues to be a key trend in the housing segment, primarily driven by increasing consumer confidence towards such brands.
On commercial real estate, the DLF Chairman said that India’s attractiveness as a competitive services market coupled with strong hiring trends by the technology sector and global captives should continue to lead growth across the office segment.
"Retail business exhibited strong rebound during the (last) fiscal year with marked improvement in the footfalls and consumption across the portfolio supported by strong recovery in the luxury segment and growth of international brands," he added.
On a consolidated basis, DLF recorded a revenue (including other income) of Rs 6,138 crore in FY22, 3 per cent higher as compared to the previous year.
The total comprehensive income stood at Rs 1,513 crore during the last fiscal year, as compared to Rs 1,086 crore in the previous year after accounting for share of profit in DLF Cyber City Developers Ltd (DCCDL) and other jointly controlled entities/associates.
DCCDL, which is a joint venture between DLF Ltd and Singapore's sovereign wealth fund GIC, holds bulk of rented commercial assets. DLF has nearly 67 per cent stake in the JV firm, while GIC has the remaining.
DLF, the country's largest real estate company in market capitalisation, has developed more than 150 projects so far covering over 300 million square feet. It has 40 million square feet of operational rental portfolio.
The company has a land bank to develop 215 million square feet of housing and commercial projects.