Retail in India

India today is a dynamic combination of demanding consumers, rising levels of consumption and a growing population base. It has emerged as the fourth largest economy in the world in terms of Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) and is expected to rank third by 2010, after the US and China. According to the Global Retail Development Index (GRDI) developed by A T Kearney, for the third year, India has emerged as the nation which has topped the index. India is currently the twelfth largest consumer market in the world. According to a study by McKinsey Global Institute, India is likely to join the premier league of the world’s consumer markets by 2025, improving its position to the fifth. The recent growth spurt was achieved primarily through a surge in productivity and is sustainable. As per this report, India’s contribution to world growth will be high and increasing.

It is believed that 21 million people are employed in the retail sector in India, which is 7% of the total national workforce. It is estimated that an additional eight million jobs will be generated through direct and indirect employment related to the retail sector.

Since independence, retail in India has evolved to support the unique needs of our country given its size and complexity. In India, while retail has not as yet been accorded that status of an industry, it has been a witness to a large number of formats emerging in the market at a very fast pace. Since the early 1990s, the retail, scenario in India has been characterized by a major shift from traditional grocery shops to modern formats that include department stores, hypermarkets, supermarkets and specialty stores across a wide range of categories. Today, these retail formats have established a good presence across prime locations in the metropolitan and mini-metro centers and the few years have been them spreading out to the second tier cities and towns thereby exposing consumers in these areas to modern shopping options and experience like never before.

Formats new to the Indian marketplace have merged rapidly over the past five years. There is little doubt that retail in India is reviving up for an exciting phase ahead. In the first section, we look at the growth of retail in India and the key sectors in Indian retail, and key Indian retailers are studied. The factors affecting the growth of retail in India are examined next. The impact of Foreign Direct Investment on retail is then examined.

Technology and E- commerce:

Retail is one of the most mature users of information technology. From RFID implementation to e-commerce websites, technology needs to be geared to tackle complex inventory systems, from technology driven training programs delivered over satellites or the Internet to state of the art cash register and credit systems. Careers in this department may range from overall responsibility for the data processing efforts within the chain, including systems design, programming, computer operations and information systems (IS). Systems development may be another area, which would be responsible for programming one segment of the business such as merchandising finance or logistics. A retailer who has a presence in the e-commerce segment may also look for individuals who may be responsible for strategy development, procurement of merchandise and the fulfillment of orders and payments as specific areas.

Visual Merchandising:

Visual merchandising is largely associated with creating the look of the store. Visual merchandisers are responsible for the total merchandise or service or service presentations, the overall business image, and even the building and placement of design elements. The increase in competition has necessitated retailers to differentiate themselves from the competition. While products and services are the ,primary methods of differentiation, visual merchandising is fast becoming an area of differential advantage, as it is believed that attractive displays attract and stimulate, which in turn is believed to create increased sales.

Supply Chain Management and Logistics:

Supply chain management and logistics are fast emerging as key focus areas in retail. Supply chain management is the integrated management of the flow of materials and products, services and information from raw material suppliers, through operations to the final customer, and back again. Supply chain management and logistics is an integral factor affecting cost. Effective management of the supply chain enhances profitability. Depending on the size of the organization, a job in supply chain management may involve analyzing and negotiating contracts with suppliers, manufacturers and / or distributors, capacity and production planning, resource allocation an facility location and scheduling the transportation and logistics of products / services to their final destination.