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Retailing in India

Submitted by
Pradeep Kumar V
MBA – (Agri-Business)
IDS Department,
Mysore University

Retail Marketing

Retailing is the interface between the producer and the individual consumer buying
for personal consumption. This excludes direct interface between the manufacturer
and institutional buyers such as the government and other bulk customers. A retailer
is one who stocks the producer’s goods and is involved in the act of selling it to the
individual consumer, at a margin of profit. As such, retailing is the last link that
connects the individual consumer with the manufacturing and distribution chain.

The retail industry is divided into organised and unorganized sectors. Organised
retailing refers to trading activities undertaken by licensed retailers, that is, those
who are registered for sales tax, income tax, etc. These include the corporate-backed
hypermarkets and retail chains, and also the privately owned large retail businesses.
Unorganised retailing, on the other hand, refers to the traditional formats of low-cost
retailing, for example, the local kirana shops, owner manned general stores,
paan/beedi shops, convenience stores, hand cart and pavement vendors, etc.

The Indian Scenario:

Trade or retailing is the single largest component of the services sector in terms of
contribution to GDP. Its massive share of 14% is double the figure of the next largest
broad economic activity in the sector. India is the ‘second most attractive retail
destination’ globally from among thirty emergent markets. It has made India the
cause of a good deal of excitement and the cynosure of many foreign eyes. With a
contribution of 14% to the national GDP and employing 7% of the total workforce
(only agriculture employs more) in the country, the retail industry is definitely one of
the pillars of the Indian economy1.

Growing in tandem with the economy is the Indian retail sector. The sector is on a
high growth trajectory and is expected to grow by more than 27 per cent over the
next 5 to 6 years. Retail is one of India’s largest industries, contributing to about 10
per cent of the GDP and providing employment to 8 per cent of the nation’s
workforce. Indian retail business promises to be one of the core sectors of the Indian

economy, with organised retail sector estimated to grow by 400 per cent of its
current size by 2007-08.

Income, technology and life styles of consumers are changing, even from whom they
buy are changing. The location or the place where they buy is changing; the shops
are opened closed according to the convenience of the buyers. The buying process
has changed due to Internet buying, which brings new and better deals and also
saves time. Population growth rate, increasing literacy rate and increasing family
income has an effect on consumer spending.
Changing social attitudes towards work, home and leisure affect the retail strategies.
Political decisions relating to the environment, shopping locations and fair trade
affect, where and how retailers can trade. Changes in technology bring new attitudes
to buying products and services and to better organization of the supply chain.

India has the highest shop density in the world and the present retail market in India.
We are ranked second in the global retail development index out of 30 by AT Kearney.
This figure shows the comparative penetration of organized retail in India.
Comparitive penitration of organized retail Traditional






US Taiwan Malaysia Thailand Indonesia China India

Evolution of Retail Market in India.

In the beginning there were only kirana stores called Mom and Pop Stores, the
neighborhood stores selling every day needs. In the 1980s manufacturer’s retail
chains like
DCM, Gwalior Suitings, Bombay Dying, Calico, Titan etc started making its
appearance in
Metros and small towns. Multi brand retailers came into the picture in the 1990s. In
the food and
FMCG sectors retailers like Food world, Subhiksha, Nilgris are some of the examples.
In music
Segment Planet M, Music world and in books Crossword and Fountainhead are some
Shopping Centres began to be established from 1995 onwards. A unique example was
Establishment of margin free markets in Kerala. The millennium year saw the
emeregence of super markets and hypermarkets. Now big players like Reliance,
Bharti, Tatas, HLL, ITC are entering into the organized retail segment. The big
international retail bigwigs are waiting in the wings, as the present FDI guidelines do
not allow them to own retail outlets in the country. Walmart is testing the waters by
agreeing to provide back end and logistic support to Bharti for establishment of retail

chains with a view to study the market for future entry when the FDI guidelines
change and to establish a backbone supply chain. Table 1 shows the different phases
in the growth of organized retailing in India.

Table: 1. Journey of Organized Retail in India
Year Growth Function
2000 First Phase Entry, Growth, Expansion, Top line focus
2005 Second Phase Range, Portfolio, Former options
End to end supply chain management, Backend operation, Technology,
Third Phase Process
2011 Fourth Phase M&A, Shakeout, Consolidation, High investment
Ernst &

Global Scenario

Retail stores constitute 20% of US GDP & are the 3 rd largest employer segment in
USA. China on the other hand has attracted several global retailers in recent times.
Retail sector employs 7% of the population in China. Major retailers like Wal-Mart &
Carrefour have already entered the Chinese market. In the year 2003, Wal-Mart &
Carrefour had sales of US $ 70.4 Crore & US $ 160 Crore respectively. The global retail
industry has traveled a long way from a small beginning to an industry where the
world wide retail sales is valued at $ 7 x 10” Crore. The top 200 retailers alone
accounts for 30 % of the worldwide demand. Retail turnover in the EU is
approximately Euros 2,00,000 Crore and the sector average growth is showing an
upward pattern. The Asian economies (excluding Japan) are expected to grow at 6%
consistently till 2005-06.On the global Retail stage, little has remained same over the
last decade. One of the few similarities with today is that Wal-Mart was ranked the
top retailer in the world then & it still holds that distinction. Other than Wal-Mart's
dominance, there's a little about today's environment that looks like the mid-1990s.
The global economy has changed, consumer demand has shifted & retailers'
operating systems today are infused with far more technology than was the case six
years ago.

The Top Five
Company Investment
Bharti Yet to
Wal-Mart - announce
Reliance $ 5.5 billion
Aditya Birla
Group $ 3.3 billion
Pantaloon $ 1 billion
Tatas $ 89 million
Source: The Economic Times


India’s retail market that is seen as the GOLDMINE by global players has grabbed
attention of the most developed nations. This is no wonder to the one who knows that
the total Indian retail market is US $350bn. (16, 00,000 crore INR approx.) of which
organized retailing is only around 3 percent i.e. US $8bn (36,000 crore INR approx).

Modern retail has entered India as seen in sprawling shopping centers, multi-storeyed
malls and huge complexes offer shopping, entertainment and food all under one roof.
The future of Indian retailing may even witness the concept of 24 hour retailing.

The urban retail market has been embracing various new formats and the malls
turned out to be the trendsetters by promising the concept of shoppertainment. The
trends in the rural market also have been changing from the old Haats and Melas to
the rural malls like ‘Chaupal Sagar’ launched by ITC, DCM Shriram Groups one-stop
shopping destination called ‘Hariyali Bazaar’, Godrej groups agri store ‘Adhar’ etc.

Organized retailing is spreading and making its presence felt in different parts of the
country. The trend in grocery retailing, however, has been slightly different with a
growth concentration in the South. Though there were traditional family owned retail
chains in South India such as Nilgiri’s as early as 1904, the retail revolution happened
with various major business houses foraying into the starting of chains of food retail
outlets in South India with focus on Chennai, Hyderabad and Bangalore markets,
preliminarily. In the Indian context, a countrywide chain in food retailing is yet to be
established as lots of Supply Chain issues need to be answered due to the vast
expanse of the country and also diverse cultures that are present.

• Unorganized market: Rs. 583,000 crores*
• Organized market: Rs.5, 000 crores* 5X growth in organized retailing between
2000-2005 * Over 4,000 new modern Outlets in the last 3 years* Over
5,000,000 sq. ft. of mall space under development

Major players
- Food and grocery-
- Food world-
- Shoppers' Stop-
- Subhiksha- Working at certain places
- Westside –
- Planet M-
- Nilgris –
- Lifestyle-
- Music World-
- Nirma-Radhey
- Globus-
- Reliance Fresh
- RPG’s Spencers

Indian consumers are rapidly evolving and accepting modern formats
overwhelmingly. Retail Space is no more a constraint for growth.

Few of India's top retailers are:

1. Big Bazaar-Pantaloons:
Big Bazaar, a division of Pantaloon Retail (India) Ltd is already India's biggest retailer.
In the year 2003-04, it had revenue of Rs 658.31 crores & by 2010; it is targeting
revenue of Rs 8,800 Crore.

2. Food World:
Food World in India is an alliance between the RPG group in India with Dairy Farm
International of the Jardine Matheson Group.

3. Trinethra:
It is a supermarket chain that has predominant presence in the southern state of
Andhra Pradesh. Their turnover was Rs 78.8 Crore for the year 2002-03.

4. Apna Bazaar:
It is a Rs 140-crore consumer co-operative society with a customer base of over 12
lakh, plans to cater to an upwardly mobile urban population.

5. Margin Free:

It is a Kerala based discount store, which is uniformly spread across 240 Margin Free
franchisees in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Wholesale trading is another area,
which has potential for rapid growth. German giant Metro AG and South African
Shoprite Holdings have already made headway in this segment by setting up stores
selling merchandise on a wholesale basis in Bangalore and Mumbai respectively.
These new-format cash-and-carry stores attract large volumes from a sizeable
number of retailers who do not have to maintain relationships with multiple suppliers
for all their needs.

What is retailing?

The word 'retail' is derived from the French word 'retailer' meaning 'to cut a piece off'
or 'to break bulk'. In simple terms it involves activities whereby product or services
are sold to final consumers in small quantities. Although retailing in its various
formats has been around our country for many decades, it has been confined for
along time to family owned corner shops. Englishmen are great soccer enthusiasts,

and they strongly think that one should never give Indians a corner. It stems from the
belief that, if you give an Indian a corner he would end up setting a shop. That is how
great Indians retail management skill is considered.

This emergence of organized retailing has been due to the demographic and
psychographics changes taking place in the life of urban consumers. Growing number
of nuclear families, working women, greater work pressure, changing values and
Lifestyles, increased commuting time, influence of western way of life etc. have
meant that the needs and wants of consumers have shifted from just being Cost and
Relationship drive to Brand and Experience driven, while the Value element still
dominating the buying decisions.

A retail revolution is happening at newer markets, India presents exciting
opportunities on account of its vast middle-class and a virtually untapped retail

• The network of retailers reaches every nook and corner of the country. So any
product produced anywhere in the country can be easily accessed by the buyers from
any location. Thus the spatial convenience of Indian retailers is varying high.
According to ORG-MARG2 the total number of all kinds of retail outlets in India was
51,30,000 during 1996-97. This means one retail outlet exists against an average of
almost 190 persons.

• Secondly, in India the retailing industry is an unorganized lot consisting of, in most
of the cases, small entrepreneurs. And the virtual omnipresence of the Indian retailer
can be attributed to these small entrepreneurs only.
The second attribute gives rise to the following characteristics –

• The manufacturers cannot directly reach all retailers in a particular geographical
area. Therefore, the manufacturers cannot maintain the desired relationship with the
retailers, which in turn, makes management of the channel complicated. This also
makes the possibility of a direct feedback loop from the retailers almost remote.

• Therefore, the member operating between the manufacturers and retailers become
more powerful as they can block the channel of communication between the two. So
the dependence of retailers on other channel members increases to a high extent.
Thus the participation of retailers in the flows of marketing mix becomes lower than

• The financial strength of the Indian retailers, in general, is very low and hence the
investment capabilities. This makes the retailers more dependent on the other
channel members. However, these characteristics are peculiar to the small retail
outlets and may not be present at every kind of retail level. According to the ORG-
MARG study referred to above, the number of smaller retailers (having turnover less
than Rs. 20,000 pa) is estimated to be 27,71,200 and the number of retail outlets
with turnover more than Rs. 1,20,000 per annum is only 3,59,100. In recent times,
however, more and more big retail outlets are coming up in the metros and cities of
the country. Many business houses now are thinking of opening up a retail chain of
their own. Spencer and Co. Limited (retailing arm of the RPG group), Vitan Industries
Limited, Pantaloon, Shoppers Stop, to name a few, have already in the business with
a big bang. All of them have got very ambitious plans to get into the new millennium.
Pantaloon, for example, has got 40 strong chain of franchisee and 12 stores owned
directly by them. RPG Group plans to increase their outlets to 50 FoodWorld, 18
Health & Glow, 8 MusicWorld from present 27 FoodWorld and 2 MusicWorld outlets by

the end of the year 1999. Likewise, Archies has got a good presence in the market
through a very successful and efficient franchisee network.

In India, the logistics market is mainly thought to mean transportation. But the major
elements of logistics cost for industries include transportation, warehousing,
inventory management, courier and other valued-added services such as packaging.

The logistics costs account for 13 per cent of GDP. The industry is currently on an
upswing and is poised for a growth of 20 per cent in the coming years.

With the expansion of retail, supply chain will take on an increasingly important role.
With the end consumer becoming more demanding and time conscious, the need for
just-in-time services is increasing. In retail, where competition is intense and stakes
are high, customer satisfaction is paramount.

Retailers realize that knowing what is selling and what is not can improve the
inventory processes. Inventory is the biggest cost factor, and if not managed well, it
can also be the biggest drain. That's why retailers and their trading partners today
set store by the inventory process and its impact. Effective SCM enables:

Averting problems: Stores easily identify potential stock-outs and request
replenishment before the inventory drops to zero. Deciding to de-list or replace a
product is easier.

Facilitating resource planning and allocation: Product forecasts and supply
schedules are easily converted to perform space planning, establish staffing needs
and organise inbound/outbound shipments. Financial experts can plan cash flow and
analyse margins into the future.

The key players in the logistics industry are gearing up to meet the challenges by
initiating both organic and inorganic growth to leverage the retail opportunity.
Logistics firms have also started focusing on related services such as Customs
clearing and forwarding, inbound warehousing, labeling and packaging, fleet
management, order picking and inventory management.

Retail logistics

Retailing is the most active and attractive sector of last decade. While the retailing
industry itself has been present since ages in our country, it is only the recent past
that it has witnessed so much dynamism. The emergence of retailing in India has
more to do with the increased purchasing power of buyers, especially post-
liberalization, increase in product variety, and increase in economies of scale, with
the aid of modern supply and distributions solution and new technologies are
improving retail productivity, though there are many opportunities to start a new
retail business, retailers are facing numerous challenges.

It is often taken for granted that products will be available to buy in the shops. The
cornucopia of goods that is available in a hypermarket or a department store
sometimes means that we forget how the products were supplied. We expect our
lettuces to be fresh, the new Playstation to be available on launch day and our
clothes to be in good condition and ready to wear. With the introduction of e-
commerce we have come to demand complete availability and home delivery at
times of our choosing.

Consumer beliefs and needs have altered. Our willingness to wait to be satisfied or
served has reduced and we expect instant product availability and gratification. It
should be obvious from this that the supply or logistics system that gets products
from production through retailing to consumption has also needed to be transformed.

Physical distribution and materials management have been replaced by logistics
management and a subsequent concern for the whole supply chain (Figure 1.1). This
logistics transformation derives from cost and service requirements as well as
consumer and retailer change (see Fernie, 1990; Fernie and Sparks, 1998). Elements
of logistics are remarkably expensive, if not controlled effectively. Holding stock or
inventory in warehouses just in case it is needed is a highly costly activity. The stock
itself is expensive and might not sell or could become obsolete. Warehouses and

distribution centres generally are expensive to build, operate and maintain. Vehicles
to transport goods between warehouses and shops are expensive, in terms of both
capital and running costs.

Materials Management Physical distribution
Raw Materials Inventory
Parts Storage Facilities S
Packaging Finished Product Utilization U
Materials Transportation
Communication E
Logistics management

There is thus a cost imperative to of both capital and running costs. There is thus a
cost imperative to making sure that logistics is carried out effectively and efficiently,
through the most appropriate allocation of resources along the supply chain. At the
same time, there can be service benefits. By appropriate integration of demand and
supply, mainly through the widespread use of information technology and systems,
retailers can provide a better service to consumers by, for example, having fresher,
higher quality produce arriving to meet consumer demand for such products. With
the appropriate logistics, products should be of a better presentational quality, could
possibly be cheaper, have a longer shelf life and there should be far fewer instances
of stock outs. Reaction time to spurts in demand can be radically improved through
the use of information transmission and dissemination technologies. If operating
properly, a good logistics system can therefore both reduce costs and improve
service, providing a competitive advantage for the retailer.

Retailing and logistics are concerned with product availability. Many have described
this as ‘getting the right products to the right place at the right time’. Unfortunately
however that description does not do justice to the amount of effort that has to go
into a logistics supply system and the multitude of ways that supply systems can go
wrong. The very simplicity of the statement suggests logistics is an easy process. As
the boxed example shows, problems and mistakes can be all too apparent. The real
management ‘trick’ is in making logistics looks easy, day in and day out, whilst
reacting to quite volatile consumer demand

For example, if the temperature rises and the sun comes out in an atypical Scottish
summer, then demand for ice cream, soft drinks and even salad items rises
dramatically. How does a retailer make sure they remain in stock and satisfy this
transient demand? Or we might think about Valentine’s Day, when demand for
certain products in the days before increases exponentially. If a retailer stocks
Valentine’s cards and demand does not materialize, then the retailer has stock that
will not sell. There is little demand for Valentine’s cards on 15 February. While over-
stocks in this case will not perish, the cost of their storage and handling for the
intervening year can be considerable.

The examples above demonstrate that retailers must be concerned with the flows of
product and information both within the business and in the wider supply chain. In
order to make products available retailers have to manage their logistics in terms of

product movement and demand management. They need to know what is selling in
the stores and both anticipate and react quickly to changes in this demand. At the
same time they need to be able to move less demand-volatile products in an efficient
and cost-effective manner. The logistics management task is therefore initially
concerned with managing the components of the ‘logistics mix’. We can identify five

• Storage facilities: these might be warehouses or distribution centres or simply
the stock rooms of retail stores. Retailers manage these facilities to enable them to
keep stock in anticipation of or to react to, demand for products.

• Inventory: all retailers hold stock to some extent. The question for retailers is the
amount of stock or inventory (finished products and/or component parts) that has to
be held for each product, and the location of this stock to meet demand changes.

• Transportation: most products have to be transported in some way at some stage
of their journey from production to consumption. Retailers therefore have to manage
a transport operation that might involve different forms of transport, different sizes of
containers and vehicles and the scheduling and availability of drivers and vehicles.

• Unitization and packaging: consumers generally buy products in small
quantities. They sometimes make purchase decisions based on product presentation
and packaging. Retailers are concerned to develop products that are easy to handle
in logistics terms, do not cost too much to package or handle, yet retain their selling
ability on the shelves.

• Communications: to get products to where retailers need them, it is necessary to
have information, not only about demand and supply, but also about volumes, stock,
prices and movements. Retailers have thus become increasingly concerned with
being able to capture data at appropriate points in the system and to use that
information to have a more efficient and effective logistics operation. It should be
clear that all of these elements are interlinked. In the past they were often managed
as functional areas or ‘silos’, and while potentially optimal within each function, the
business as a whole was sub-optimal in logistics terms. More recently the
management approach has been to integrate these logistics tasks and reduce the
functional barriers. So, if a retailer gets good sales data from the checkout system,
this can be used in scheduling transport and deciding levels and locations of stock
holding. If the level of inventory can be reduced, perhaps fewer warehouses are
needed. If communications and transport can be linked effectively, a retailer can
move from keeping stock in a warehouse to running a distribution centre which sorts
products for immediate store delivery: that is, approaching a ‘Just-In-Time’ system.
Internal integration has therefore been a major concern.

It should also be clear, however, that retailers are but one part of the supply system.
Retailers are involved in the selling of goods and services to the consumer. For this
they draw upon manufacturers to provide the necessary products. They may
outsource certain functions such as transport and warehousing to specialist logistics
services providers.

Retailers therefore have a direct interest in the logistics systems of their suppliers
and other intermediaries. If a retailer is effective, but its suppliers are not, errors and
delays in supply from the manufacturer or logistics services provider will impact the
retailer and the retailer ’s consumers, in terms of either higher prices or stock-outs
(no products available on the store shelves).

If a retailer can integrate effectively its logistics system with that of its suppliers, such
problems may be minimized. Much more importantly, however, the entire supply
chain can then be optimized and managed as a single entity. This brings potential
advantages of cost reduction and service enhancement, not only for the retailer, but
also for the supplier. It should also mean that products reach the stores more rapidly,
thus better meeting sometimes-transient customer demand. In some instances it
may mean the production of products in merchandisable ready units, which flow
through the distribution systems from production to the shop floor without the need
for assembly or disassembly. Such developments clearly require supply chain co-
operation and coordination.

We may be describing highly complex and advanced operations here. Retail suppliers
are increasingly spread across the world. A retailer may have thousands of stores in a
number of countries, with tens of thousands of individual product lines. They may
make millions of individual sales per day. Utilizing data to ensure effective operation
amongst retailers, manufacturers, suppliers, logistics services providers, head office,
shops and distribution centers is not straightforward. There is thus always a tension
between overall complexity and the desire for the simplest possible process.
Summarizing the discussion above, the logistics task therefore can be described as:

The process of strategically managing the procurement, movement and storage of
materials, parts and finished inventory (and the related information flows) through
the organization and its marketing channels in such a way that current and future
profitability are maximized through the cost effective fulfillment of orders.
(Christopher, 1998: 4)

Managing the logistics mix in an integrated retail supply chain, while aiming to
balance cost and service requirements, is the essential element of logistics
management. As retailers have begun to embrace this logistics approach and
examine their wider supply chains, many have realized that to carry out logistics
properly, there has to be a transformation of approach and operations (Sparks, 1998).



"Right Place, Right choice"

Follow the Four `Rs' of SCM — Right time, Right place, Right price, Right quantity —
to reap the advantages of:

• Sustained inventory reduction by as much as 60 per cent for both the buyer
and seller.
• Improved forecast accuracy by as much as 30 per cent.
• Enhanced store shelf stock rates by as much as 8 per cent.
• Increased sales by as much as 20 per cent.
• Reduced logistics costs by as much as 4 per cent.

Location is the most important ingredient for any business that relies on customers,
and is typically the prime consideration in a customer’s store choice. Locations
decisions are harder to change because retailers have to either make sustainable
investments to buy and develop real estate or commit to long-term lease with
developers. When formulating decision about where to locate, the retailer must refer
to the strategic plan:

• Investigate alternative trading areas.
• Determine the type of desirable store location
• Evaluate alternative specific store sites

2) MERCHANDISE, (trade, commodities offered for sale):

The primary goal of the most retailers is to sell the right kind of merchandise and
nothing is more central to the strategic thrust of the retailing firm. Merchandising
consists of activities involved in acquiring particular goods and services and making
them available at a place, time and quantity that enable the retailer to reach its
goals. Merchandising is perhaps, the most important function for any retail
organization, as it decides what finally goes on shelf of the store.


Pricing is a crucial strategic variable due to its direct relationship with a firm's goal
and its interaction with other retailing elements. The importance of pricing decisions
is growing because today's customers are looking for good value when they buy
merchandise and services. Price is the easiest and quickest variable to change.


"Consumer the prime mover”
“Consumer Pull", however, seems to be the most important driving factor behind the
sustenance of the industry. The purchasing power of the customers has increased to a
great extent, with the influencing the retail industry to a great extent, a variety of
other factors also seem to fuel the retailing boom.


Scale of operations includes all the supply chain activities, which are carried out in
the business. It is one of the challenges that the Indian retailers are facing. The cost
of business operations is very high in India.


a) Hypermarket

: It is the largest format in Indian retail so far is a one-stop shop for the modern Indian
*Merchandise: food grocery to clothing to spots goods to books to stationery.
*Space occupied: 50000 Sq. ft. and above.
*SKUs: 20000-30000.
*Example: Pantaloon retail’s Big Bazaar, RPG’s Spencers (Giant).

b) Supermarket

: A subdued version of a hypermarket.

*Merchandise: Almost similar to that of a hypermarket but in relatively smaller
*Space occupied: 5000 Sq. ft. or more.
*SKUs: Around 10000.
*Example: Nilgiris, Apna Bazaar, Trinethra.

C) Convenience store

: A subdued version of a supermarket.
*Merchandise: Groceries are predominantly sold.
*Space occupied: Around 500 Sq. ft. to 3000 Sq. ft.
*Example: stores located at the corners of the streets, Reliance Retail’s Fresh and

D) Department store

: A retail establishment which specializes in selling a wide range of products without a
single prominent merchandise line and is usually a part of a retail chain.

*Merchandise: Apparel, household accessories, cosmetics, gifts etc.
*Space occupied: Around 10000 Sq. ft. – 30000 Sq. ft.
*Example: Landmark Group’s LifeStyle, Trent India Ltd.’s Westside.

E) Discount store
: Standard merchandise sold at lower prices with lower margins and higher volumes.

*Merchandise: A variety of perishable/ non-perishable goods.
*Example: Viswapriya Group’s Subiksha, Piramal’s TruMart.
F) Specialty store
: It consists of a narrow product line with deep assortment.
*Merchandise: Depends on the stores
*Example: Bata store deals only with footwear, RPG’s Music World, Crossword.

G) MBO’s
: Multi Brand outlets, also known as Category Killers. These usually do well in busy
market places and Metros.

*Merchandise: Offers several brands across a single product category.

H) Kirana stores:
The smallest retail formats, which are the highest in number (15 million approx.) in

Space occupied: 50 sq ft and even smaller ones exist.
*Malls: The largest form of organized retailing today. Located mainly in metro cities, in
proximity to urban outskirts.
*Merchandise: They lend an ideal shopping experience with an amalgamation of
product, service and entertainment, all under a common roof.
*Space occupied: Ranges from 60,000 sq ft to 7, 00,000 sq ft.
*Example: Pantaloon Retail’s Central, Mumbai’s Iorbit.

Supplier Retailer Relationships

Traditionally the supplier-retailer relation in India comprised several layers such as
the national distributor, the regional wholesaler and the end retailer. However this
scenario is fast changing with the organized retail increasing its presence in the
country where the relationship is directly with the manufacturer. However this new
model has been affecting the relationships that the manufacturer enjoys with the
traditional system that is still the most dominant in the entire retail sector. The issue
of differential pricing is being taken up at several forums and the growing
dissatisfaction among the traditional retailers is being addressed by the
manufacturers. However we see that in the long term, the role of a national
distributor would slowly fade away or get restricted to the rural/ upcountry regions.
The supplier-retailer relationship would come under severe pressure, as each party
would try to squeeze maximum margins out of the other.

Innovations in Transportation Logistics

The logistics service providers have been innovating several interesting formats and
models for the retail sector. As of now, organized retail chains in India do not, by far,
outsource logistical requirements; they develop their own network. This was basically
due to the fact that the supply-chain was still in its infancy stage, which has begun to
mature and the systems are being well defined. As retail chains begin to focus more
and more on the retail end, the logistics support would begin to get outsourced. The
logistics service providers have begun to come out with innovative customized
solutions for the retail chains such as GATI’s model for distribution of Alphonso
mangoes throughout the country with the Information Technology support.
We see that the logistics service providers would continue to innovate and develop
effective distribution systems for the retail sector.


Currently the retail sector in India is populated with the traditional mom-and-pop
stores and some 1000 odd supermarkets under organized retail chains. A daring few
ventured into the Hypermarket segment with successful results and this format is
being fast replicated by other players. This experience indicates that the Indian
consumer has matured to the next level of shopping experience. Given the Indian
conditions and the vast diversity a single format may not be possible for the national
presence, but region specific formats may evolve. An interesting observation is that
of lack of presence of organized retail chains in the rural/semi-urban centers as over
60% of Indian population is still in these parts. An ideal “no frills” model to start with,
would be ideal for the rural markets, this would help to take them to the next level of
supermarket experience.

Enumerating some of the likely positive outcomes.

Organized retail market boom is expected to create the much-needed mass
employment. It will upgrade India’s layer second and third tier cities to international
standard. While this boom addresses India’s basic infrastructure challenges it
promises to create demand for the product of rural India and a more efficient
agricultural sector. The organized retail market boom is expected to bring positive
outcomes in many of sectors like economic growth, exports, education, IT industry,
food processing, infrastructure and traffic, banking, tourism, agribusiness
management along with the greater customer satisfaction. Some of these positive

• Development of world class retail shops is likely to gives direct employment to
many professionals like real estate dealers, builders, architects, display designers,
retail shop managers and workers like sales persons, security etc. Figure 2 shows the
manpower gap by 2010.According to CII the retail sector can absorb 9.0 lakh people
over the next five years. Some of the activities like packing is likely to be outsourced
from in and around the vicinity of the establishment. One million people will be
employed by this retail sector and 3.2 million will be required by 2008-09. The local
community is likely to benefit from employment opportunity so generated. The
employees have the opportunity of getting pension, other employee benefits and
union membership under this organized sector.

• Small business can spring up around such mega retail outlets giving service to a
large number of shoppers visiting the malls.

• The organized retail market boom is expected to become one of the pillars to Indian
economy as are oil and gold for Middle East. Indian exports will get a boost when the
big showrooms source Indian goods from small businesses for their international
outlets and it will help us to find the market for the products form rural India.

• Think of the increase in transport required for providing goods and services for the
retail outlets. This boom will eliminate the absence of cold-storage infrastructure
problem of our farmers and help them to get the product to marketplace in time. The
supply chain can again provide opportunities for a host of manufacturing, trading,
and services. Air, road and rail transport is going to benefit from this. Numbers of
domestic airlines is now increasing their cargo services considerably to meet the
requirements of this sector

• The big book stalls in these hypermarkets become a blessing to voracious readers
and researchers. It offers considerable discount and variety of books to all age of
people, that now small magazine hats fail to offer.

• Managing inventories is one of the important asset of the big retailers. The best
practices available in the world in this field would come into the country with the
coming of players like Wal-Mart in the logistics of retail marketing. India is the fastest
growing mobile market in the world. These showrooms will become major hubs for
this electronic industry. Organized retail showrooms give the consumers wide range
of electronics goods ranging from robots to imported toys.

• The air conditioning and refrigeration industry is likely to get a big boost.
Commercial air-conditioning is likely to overtake the domestic market with the coming
of this boom. The refrigerated containers required to transport perishables to various
retail outlets would be enormous. The production of consumer durable goods is
expected to increase by this organized retail sector.

Consumers would be the group, which benefits the most. They would get wider
choices of products and cheaper prices. This will increase consumption rate and will
indirectly generate more employment and wealth. The local retailers will start
offering better discounts that other foreign retail giants could not cope. Time saving
online shopping, home delivery through web portal and ability for better comparison
of products will increase customer satisfaction.

• Education is considered as the most happening sector in India. While retail giants
entering in to the fray there are many opportunities opening up in the educational
sector. Retailers like Reliance itself now hire around 60-70 percent of its front-
end staff from government school pass outs. Pantaloon hires 300 school passed out
from both government and private. Retail career area includes store operation, supply
chain management, human resource management, entrepreneurship, IT, sales etc.
The management schools like NMIMS, IIMs start offering courses with specialization in
this field. Number of e-learning portals start provides online courses for retail in India.
Foreign Institutional Investors and corporate like Lifestyle tie up with Indian institutes
like National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) to start both short and long tem
course for fashion retail management and retail supply chain management. This tie
up will slowly shift in to other education fields also offering high quality foreign
education in Indian soil. The great demand for those qualified students surely attract
more and more youngsters and managers to this attractive courses and more and
more public and private institutions start offering variety of courses in this field. The
non-organized market sectors hiring these qualified professionals will also have
change in their methodology for quality of services, supply chain management, store
organization, financial management and product appreciation.

• Growing organized food retailing in India will bring significant change in the
agribusiness management. The supermarket and fresh food outlet showrooms will
directly procure product from the farmers. The organized retail marketing will
channelise large-scale private investments into irrigation, agriculture marketing,
agriculture extension services and infrastructure such as roads, cold storage and
grain banks.

• Farmers are likely to get better prices for their products as these mega retailers are
likely to procure their farm products directly from the farmers. Many of the
middlemen would be eliminated. They start contracts based farming and get assured
buyer with stable price. The food procurement business helps the farmers when

government controversial decisions to import food items or when state procurement
agencies stay away

• People becoming fashion conscious. The retail markets bring the latest in fashion
accessories and kids wear for customers of all age groups. Indian customers will
accept the international fashion brands like Parfois, Vincci, Oakidi and Obaibi with
open arms and there will be drastic changes in the dress code. The traditional saree,
Kadhi and silks dress will be shifted to occasional one. Baby care products like bed
linen, rolling products, handbags, jewelry, watches, sunglasses, hats, belts and hair
accessories and Vincci range of footwear of foreign brands will take place in the daily
use of Indian customers. Figure 3 shows the retail segments ratio in Indian

Fastest growing retail segment in India
Watch and Jewelry
Food and Grocery

Furniture and

• The IT sector offers fairly high income in Indian youngsters. The greater purchasing
opportunity makes them to work hard for the luxuries in their life. The world-class
restaurants occupied in these retail showrooms will become a best place for get
together and facilitate better family relation ship. These retail showrooms will be a
great relief for old age people since they need not to walk anywhere. Those who
come back to India from foreign nation would be able to keep using their favorite
brands, as they are easily available through these retail shops.

• The celebrations will become more enjoyable with costly gifts. The contest and
offers during the festival season by theses big giants varies like air tickets, gadgets,
jewelry, and chocolates. The offers from air services like Singapore airlines and
number of tourism development agencies like from other countries give a new face to
the festival season in India.

• The cigarette manufactures will face strict completion from foreign brands. The
places near the theses showrooms will become turn to posh areas. The street corner
shops selling cheap product like Pan, Beedi etc in these places will disappear and
significant reduce in the smoking at public place

• The retail boom will bring a rush in property development and significant
improvements in real estate and construction work at every small town in the
country. Table 4 shows the drastic changes in the Indian cities.

Table: 4. Changes in India.
Urban Share Population. Average Return on
Investment in Retail
Year Growth Rate
Real Estate.
1991 26%Tier 1 Cities 9-10%
2001 28%Tier 2 Cities 8-9%
2011 41%Tier 3 Cities 10-11%
Source: Ernst & Young

• Infrastructure and traffic facilities will improve significantly. Most of these stores are
located away from the town areas they will encourage to facilitate the road and
transport facilities to remote areas in the country. The gridlock of cars and other
vehicles in the town areas will be reduced since the shopping centers find difficult to
find parking areas and often the customers vehicle bring lot of traffic jam in peak
hours .The shoppers will be spending money to develop these area.

• Better weather forecasting will be take place as Wal-Mart like big giants start
depending on local whether data for replenishment purpose. Consumers will be
benefited by the call center agents to enquire on particular product. For better store
connectivity they will facilitate the real time status monitoring application,
transformational technology like RFID, service based infrastructure and Virtual Private
Networks. The IT professionals start developing retail technology products like
Personal Shopping Assistant (PSA), ERP and CRM applications which will look in to
inventory turn and stock availability by communicating in real time. IT industry will
bring web portals to avoid go to market mechanism and innovative technologies like
Ontological applications for treat each customer as unique. Number of strategic
acquisitions like Oracle acquisition of Retek, 360Commerece, ProfitLogic etc in the IT
industries will take place to meet the retail specific functionality. Establishment of
new centers like TCS retail innovation lab, HCL, Oracle Retail Centre for the
requirement engineering and related process will take place across the country.

• Retail showrooms will start offering multi channel online retailing facility. The Indian
society shift to purchase product and services online in a large amount. The online
shopping destinations like eBay, Amazone comparison shopping portals like google
and will be more popular in Indian community. New domestic e-
commerce retailers are being born. There will be increase in the banks offerings and
online facilities. The society will start using these online banking facilities, credit
cards etc more and more in their daily life. The customer will be saving lot of time
and have a better comparison of product in the neighborhood retail showrooms. The
competition become more as adjacent district showrooms will deliver better product
with in few hours. Many other related industry start advertising their product in these
local web portals. This will be benefit to the small-scale industry units.

The flip side of this revolution

The flip side is equally prominent, large section of India’s people are still deprived of
the fruits of development. 26 percent of India lives below poverty line their life will
become more pathetic and result in increased social tensions. Table 5 shows the
urban and rural area poverty rate in India.

Table 5: Over all poverty in India over various years
Poverty Ratio Percent Number Of Poor (Millions)
Rural Urban Combined Rural Urban Combined
1993-94 37.3 32.4 36.0 244.0 76.3 320.3

1999-00 27.1 23.6 26.1 193.2 67.1 260.3
2007 21.1 15.1 19.3 170.5 49.6 220.1
Source: Economy watch, March 07

Around 40 million people in India depend on the unorganized retail sector; the trade
unions and traders fear these people's livelihoods will be ruined if retail giants are
permitted to enter India's retail market, some of the negative outcomes

• It is observed that the presence of big retailers like Wal-Mart depresses the wages
of the employees at the bottom of the pyramid in the community. Some of the retail
market giants who going to print their foot in India are notorious for driving out
competition and slashing labour costs in other countries. Most of the employment
opportunities that promise to create are for the semi skilled and unskilled labors this
is not useful for majority of highly educated Indian youth. Reliance already started
using two of the special economic zone as warehouse for their retail outlets. Farmers
lost their lively hood as most of the area that acquired for the purpose are farmland.
The promised compensation packages are often inadequate. Due to delay in
processing and corrupted middle players of government employees, it is not reaching
to the real farmers. Most of the place senior citizens protesting against for their
farmland acquisition are arrested and imprisoned for several months. The great
apprehensions about these retail giants’ styles of operation will bring law and order
problems in the country.

• The coming of the big players in the retail market would be last nail in the coffin for
friendly neighborhood kirana stores. The personal touch one used to get from the
service of
kirana stores would be a thing of the past.

• The life style of the community would change. In food consumption, heat and eat
culture would replace the conventional cooking habits of the populace. Fast foods and
junk foods would replace the more nutritional conventional foods

• Retail giants with strong presence in other countries get the products cheapest
rates possible from around the globe like oranges from California, pineapples from
Hawaii and apples from Washington. The existing apple industry in Kashmir and
Himachal will be badly affected. The presence of seasonal fruits from foreign country
will surely decrease the market for Indian fruit. India’s estimated 2% food processing
will struggle with the imported apple juice and processed food items. The domestic
food product wastage that is 40% now will increase. The Indian tea market may
vanish by the cheaper tea from Vietnamese. This global supply chain will become
outlets for cheep Chinese made goods stores in India.

• The decreasing sales of fruit juice, sauce and bread items in small shops will stop
the supply/movement of these ready to eat products to the owner manned general
stores, which will affect the lively hood of 3.95 crores of unorganized retail trade

Need of Regulations

Change is inevitable. Different retailers serve for different needs of Indian society
trying to protect any group of retailers through special laws hurt the customers. The
foreign retailers failed in countries like Japan. If the retailer’s growth is prevented in
India the expected economic growth will be badly affected. But law enforcement and
rules like Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises act 2006, Agricultural Produce

Marketing Committee (APMC) act etc should be effectively implemented to make sure
that small and local business are not adversely affected. Department of industrial
policy and promotion Polices (DIPP) and local governing bodies should make polices
to integrate small trading class as partners in the large retail chains so that they too
can benefit from new technologies and new management practices.

*State government must have control over these retailers and they should bring
conditionality for the functioning of foreign retailers from place to place. They should
closely monitor their functioning and introduce new internal self-regulations.

*Banking finance for the welfare of unorganized sector for improving their efficiency
should be enhanced.

*Strict labor laws and limited opening hours must be there for theses shops.

*The FDI policies should be reformed from time to time and foreigners entering
strategies like franchise agreement, cash and carry whole sale trading, strategic
licensing agreement make foolproof for avoiding global retailers to engage in full
retailing. Like Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile and Costa Rica got together to
bring new legislation to prevent Wal-Mart from opening too many stores in their

*India should not allow the retail giants from monopolizing market above some
percent in any sector. The price of commodities should be agreed by the state
government. Mutual agreement with local government for the promotion of local
commodities and employment should be signed by the foreign vendors. The food
processing and allied services should bring under reserved items. The procurement
must be through government agencies like supply co.

*The ministry should make sure that for all foreign retailers wishing to enter India,
they should give an undertaking that whatever volume of business they generate in
India for the first 10 years, they must export an equivalent amount (or more) from
India for these 10 years This will facilitate Indian manufacturing sector to get a boost.
All foreign retailers must undertake to buy at least 50% of their merchandise (by
retail value) from within India. This will prevent any dumping in India. All large
retailers (of say total retail space > 250 square feet) must have a 4 percent turnover
cess that should be used by the Government to provide technology, training, and
marketing support (through local small retailer associations) to kirana / other
neighborhood stores. Government should make sure that the farmers are getting real
profit of their product, which were bulkily procured and stored in the cold storage of
these retailers, during off-season as well.


The paper paints a verbal picture of the impending retail boom likely to happen
sooner than later. The signs are all over the place. For few years foreign retailers will
have the role of facilitator for to standardize the agribusiness and to unify customer’s
preference across the country. The competition will help to increase the quality of
service of the existing local retailers and greater customer satisfaction in Indian
society. Concept of self-employment will vanish and sustainable small industries will
be roped with the big chains. Paper gives a glimpse of the slow evolution of retail
market over the years. A concise description of the drivers of this phenomenon was
discussed. The likely positive and negative impact of this revolution is enumerated.


*Andrew Collins,”Competitive Retail Marketing Dynamic Strategies for Winning and
Customers”, McGraw-Hill, 1992
Arjun Swarup,”India`s Retail Revolution”, Blog Globaleconomydeosmatter, March,
Arpita Mukerjee, “FDI in retail Sector: India “, Academic foundation, 2005
Charles M Edwars,Roselle A Brown,”Retail Advertizing and Sales Promotion”,1959.
E-Business,”Hosted E-commerce Building Competitive Advantage for the Online
ET “Govt to scan Bharti, Wal-Mart deal: Nath”. The Economic Times, November 28,

*Retail logistics: changes and challenges - John Fernie and Leigh Sparks