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Retail Formats Aiming at Socio-Economic Development

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The retail sector in India is growing rapidly with more and more number of international and national players entering the sector through a plethora of formats such as supermarkets, hypermarkets, department stores, discount stores, specialty stores, concept stores, et cetera. While most of these formats have the objective of ‘profit making’, there are some formats which work towards a ‘social objective’ helping the ‘not- so-privileged’ sections of the society.

Even though these formats do not work for profits, these are self-sustainable with their well-established sourcing and operating models; and some of these models are the most talked about case studies globally. These formats operate as:

Cooperatives Model

Cooperatives model has been prevailing in India since 19th century. The model, which initially started in rural India to address problems of rural indebtedness and support farmer groups has now been popular in urban markets too. The concept of cooperatives is looked as an attractive mechanism for pooling of resources for solving common problems relating to credit, supplies of inputs and marketing of produce. At present there are close to 6 lakhs cooperatives covering various sectors such as housing, banking, agricultural, et cetera, with more than 400 million individual members.
Cooperatives model is present in retailing sector too, wherein members of the cooperative or society buy goods directly from the manufacturers and wholesalers; and make these available to their members at rational prices by eliminating the profits of the middlemen. These cooperatives are owned, managed and controlled by the members themselves to protect their interests.

Central and State Owned Emporiums

The Central and State emporiums are a platform designed to showcase the products and unique skills representing the cultural and civilization aspects of a particular state. These emporiums serves twin objectives: Promoting art and culture of the state and increasing the employment rate as they procure products directly from the artisans of the state, thus providing them employment and a better price by removing the middlemen.

These emporiums are owned by either the State Government Handloom Development Body or central bodies such as Ministry of Textiles (MOT); , (MOMSME). They receive financial assistance from the state and the central government for meeting their funding requirements. Apart from the funding support, they also receive incentives in terms of subsidised rates for obtaining retail space at prime locations, participation in foreign exhibitions et cetera.