Retailing, until recently meant small, petty shops run by local shopkeepers. But since the last decade large business firms have started investing extensively in this sector, thus changing the structure of retailing in India. The retail sector today comprises of departmental stores, specialty chains, supermarkets, malls along with the traditional general stores owned by local individuals.
Retailing as an industry first emerged in US. After the Second World War and with the emergence of the suburbs in the US and Canada the concept of supermarkets and specialty Chains came into being. Indian retailing has come to light as one of the most profitable retail markets in the world. Initially the retail market in India was mainly unorganized, comprising of small individual grocery stores and drug stores. The change in the structure of the retail industry and growth therein is mainly attributed to the increase in purchasing power of the customer and the rapid urbanisation.
These two factors have led to a drastic change in the lifestyle and living standard of the people which gets reflected by the amount of money spent on luxury goods and entertainment. A vast majority of the youth prefer branded clothes and packaged food items and want to have all kinds of goods, food as well as other products, to be available under one roof. This preference has given a huge boost to the organised retail sector. This is evident from the growing number of supermarkets, departmental stores and malls that are being inaugurated in every corner of the country.
The icons in the organized sector are Kishore Biyani, the founder of the Pantaloons retail and its various formats such as Pantaloons, Big Bazaar and Food Bazaar. Tata and its retail format TRENT, including Croma, Westside, Star India etc. The Raheja Corp group, proprietor of Stopper’s Stop, Crosswords, Hypercity etc. R.P. Goyenka, the founder of RPG retail and its formats like the Music World, Food World, Health and Glow, Spencer’s etc.
Electronic retailing is another stem of the retailing industry which had been mainly confined to a business-to-business space, is now significantly shifting to a business-to-customer space. This is characterised by numerous online stores coming up in the web space with attractive prices and customized delivery system.
In recent years the retail sector have had huge profits and amounts to almost 60 percent of the overall domestic consumption. The tremendous potential of this sector is presumed to attract global retailers in near future. With the inflow of such Foreign Direct Investments, the domestic competition is expected to increase and only the superior players will be able to survive. However, these foreign interventions will aggravate the job opportunities, especially at the local level. This is because retail is highly localized business, so for any foreign retailer to dig a foot hold in the domestic market, local experience and local talent is a requisite. So with the upcoming FDIs this sector will expand and India will have a major grab in the global retailing.
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