Retail in India will hope to find bigger opportunities and better clarity at IRF 2007

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A few hours from now, the retail conglomerate of India as also from across the world, will sit, sip and dine together with one common aim – create opportunities, and chalk out a path for better access to the future of retailing in India.

The fourth day of September will see curtains rising on India Retail Forum (IRF) 2007, a substantive unravelling of intellectual and information exchange for the retail business in the Indian subcontinent.

The forum presents the business of retail in the region to a global audience, with the express aim of facilitating understanding about – and encouraging investment in – this massive marketplace.

At India Retail Forum, it is a congregation of retail brands, companies and minds from across the globe, from diverse retail-related verticals – from retail real estate, and design and architecture, to visual merchandising, retail support, and technology.

The conclaves, conferences and workshops will revolve around various talked-about subjects, some of which are: The New Paradigms in Retail, Environment & Infrastructure for Retail, Multi-format Management in Retail, Retail Innovation, Staying Ahead of Real Estate Curve, Category Management, Organised Retailing vs Modernizing Retail, Growth vs Profitability, Growth vs Corporate Governance, Emerging Retail Spaces, and Retailing in Rural India.

The sessions will be interspersed with Jayne Rafter talk shows conducted with such industry personalities as Cliff Crosbie of Nokia, Karen Eidsvik of Subway International B.V., Rex Mehta of Dollarstore Corporation, and Francis McAuley of Debenhams.

IRF will see the launch of Shopping Centres Association of India. The one-of-its-kind association will be backed by such industry veterans as Neel Raheja, K Raheja Corp.; Ajay Chandra, Unitech; Ajay Khanna, DLF Retail; Nikhil Chaturvedi, Prozone; Dharmesh Jain, Nirmal Lifestyles; Harshvardhan Neotia, Bengal Ambuja; Rahul Saraf, Sunsam Properties; Anuj Puri, Jones Lang LaSalle Meghraj; Suresh Singaravelu, Reliance Industries; Shishir Baijal, Kshitij Advisory Investment; Pranay Sinha, Select Infrastructure; and Anshuman Magazine, CBRE.

The assemblage of speakers for the India Retail Forum sessions include: V Vaidyanathan, ICICI Bank; Rajan Bharti Mittal, Bharti Enterprises; GC Daga, IndianOil Corp.; Abraham Goren, Elbit Imaging Group; Louise Spillard, IGD, UK; Ravi Naware, ITC Foods Division; Samir Kuckreja, Nirula’s; Rodney Fitch, Fitch, UK; R Subramanian, Subhiksha; K Radhakrishnan, Reliance Retail; Roopa Purushothaman, Future Capital Holdings; Lenders Staf, IKEA; BS Nagesh, Shoppers’ Stop; Sumantra Banerjee, RPG Enterprises; Sumant Sinha, Aditya Birla Retail; Bijou Kurien, Reliance Retail; Renuka Jagtiani, Landmark Group; Hemant Kalbag, AT Kearney; Ajay Kaul, Domino’s Pizza India; Tim Eynon, Provogue & Prozone; Rahul Sinha, PricewaterhouseCoopers; David Herridge, JDA; Amit Jatia, McDonald’s; Nigel Lang, Direxions, UK; Andrew Levermore, HyperCity Retail; David Walter, Photolink Creative Group, UK; Samir Modi, Twenty Four Seven Retail; James Bamford, Multimap, UK; Suresh Singaravelu, Reliance Industries; Roy Palmer, Pragma, UK; Noel Tata, Trent Ltd; Renuka Ramnath, ICICI Venture Funds Management; Raghu Pillai, Reliance Retail; Govind Shrikhande, Shoppers’ Stop; Michael Green, IMSG, UK; Ajay Khanna, DLF Retail; Rajiv Bhatia, Inorbit Malls; Shumone Chatterjee, Levi’s India; Vikram Bakshi, McDonald’s; Kishore Biyani, Future Group; Peter Lau, Giordano; Ian Duffy, IKEA; Barbara Wold, global retail & consumer expert; S Siva Kumar, ITC; and Reg Athwal, World CEO Forum.

The launch of India Food Forum at IRF will initiate planning of a series of activities including an international event for food processing industries, with formation of an advisory board inviting organisations with interest in food processing in India – among them, APEDA, NDDB, ITC, Godrej, Unilever, Bharti, Reliance, AV Birla, Castlerock, Dabur, Marico, Bakemans, Amul, Nestle, Cadbury and Tata. Besides huge export potential, organised retail in India needs fresh and processed food and farm produce worth USD30 billion by the year 2010. In the absence of adequate process industries, structured supply chain and logistics, a large portion of demand is expected to be met by imports, and that needs immediate attention.

Various advantages that foreign and domestic players in the business of retail are eyeing are:

• India tops AT Kearney’s list of emerging markets for global retailers
• The second fastest growing economy in the world
• The third largest economy in terms of GDP in next five years
• The fourth largest economy in PPP terms after the United States, China and Japan
• Expected to become the third biggest economy in the world after China and the United States by 2032
• Economy growth is at eight per cent – expected to exceed that of China by 2015
• Growth trend for the first two quarters of fiscal year 2006-07 indicate that the GDP rate will most likely be over 8.5 per cent for the current fiscal
• Fastest-growing Asia Pacific market for international tourist spending

Investments and returns

• Rs 600,000 crore ($130 billion+) investment in infrastructure by 2010
• Rs 50,000 crore ($10 billion+) FDI in infrastructure development and capital market by 2008
• Stock market rose by nearly 50 per cent in 2006; foreign investors are flooding in
• Fastest growth over the next 50 years, reports Goldman Sachs & Standard Life Investments
• It is expected that the Indian retail sector will grow faster than the country’s GDP. Over the past few years, retail sales in India have been hovering around 33-35 per cent of GDP — already higher than the 20-per-cent retail sales component in the GDP of the United States

A dream market

• Among the top 10 FDI destinations
• India retail opportunity expected to double to $440 billion by 2010
• Major tax reforms including implementation of value-added tax (VAT)
• FDI laws relatively liberal in wholesale trade; Metro AG and Shoprite already operating
• More foreign retailers eyeing possibilities in wholesale
• 51 per cent FDI allowed in single-brand retailing
• Government of India is considering opening up of certain retail sectors for foreign direct investment (FDI). The four sectors are electronic goods, office equipments and stationery, sports goods, and building equipment
• Largest young population in the world – over 890 million people below 45 years of age
• 550 million+ under the age of 20 by 2015
• 70 million+ earn Rs 800,000+ ($18,000) a year — number to rise to 140 million by 2011
• 600 million+ effective buyers by 2010
• Current organised retail focused primarily on the 300 million urban middle class and an additional 200 million rural rich, who form a consumer market worth more than $100 billion
• More English speaking people in India than in the whole of Europe taken together

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