IRF 2010 off to a great start

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The magnum opus – India Retail Forum 2010 – was inaugurated with welcome notes by Bijou Kurien, Chairman, IRF 2010 and Chief Executive, Reliance Retail – Lifestyle along with B S Nagesh, Chairman, IRF 2009 and Vice Chairman, Shoppers Stop.

“India is expected to contribute 7.5 per cent of the world`s GDP (PPP) and 10 per cent of incremental income growth which will be driven by few factors like rising incomes, growing working age population, increasing savings rate, increasing urbanization, growing aspirations of its consumers, nuclear families and working women, increasing consumption levels, etc. There is a huge potential for Indian retail to grow but without sufficient funds and market skills it won`t happen.” said Bijou Kurien, Chairman, IRF 2010 and Chief Executive, Reliance Retail – Lifestyle while talking about the Indian Retail industry and need of FDI in the retail sector.

B. S. Nagesh, Chairman, IRF 2009 and Vice Chairman, Shoppers Stop, stressed upon the fact that retail can be improved by increasing the quality of products rather than offering discounts. He also spoke about controlling attrition rates by taking care of the associates.

Raj Jain, President, Walmart India, MD & CEO Bharti Walmart Pvt Ltd claimed, “100% FDI is allowed for cash & carry wholesale trading in India for the B2B segment, which consists of sale of goods/merchandise to retailers, industrial, commercial, institutional or other professional business users or to other wholesalers. The small retailers are getting benefits from the cash & carry format. The main factors of this format are transparency, availability, huge range of the products, price, training, technology.” “The traditional retail market is highly fragmented. There are 12 million mom & pop stores out of which 7 million are grocery (Kirana) stores. At a CAGR of 27% the modern trade will be at 20% share in 2017 and the traditional retail will continue to lead the Indian retail market.” he added further.

Ireena Vittal, Principal, Mckinsey & Co, while speaking on “Retail: Driver of Economic Growth” said, “New formats within the industry such as super markets and hyper markets have seen a positive response. Twenty per cent of India`s urbanized population contributes to the economic production and growth. Location is a vital factor while choosing retail space. The evolved consumer formats have received a positive response, food is being displayed on premium floors, specialty outlets receive huge turnovers like jewelry and electronic stores. One needs to concentrate on how to saturate the clusters in India.”

She added, “It is very important to understand the consumer and their buying behavior, their footfall into your retail space, their response to privileged offers and their thought process while making their purchase. When a customer is looking out for credit for value its not necessary that price perception is equal to price value. Indian retailers need to keep production, merchandising, price, expenses and convenience in mind. It is essential to maintain efficiency inside and buzz outside. Very important to build a zero base organization where in the consumers` requirements are met directly by the immediate sales associates.”

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