Indian consumers have a lot to rejoice as Indian government contemplates to open its door wider for foreign investment in retail and backend support infrastructure and systems which would only mean gain for customers in terms of quality, pricing, choice, availability and service.
The two-day India Retail Forum (IRF) 2011 beginning 21st September at the Renaissance, Mumbai would take this process further when it takes stock of strategies to bring in global best practices to deliver Indian consumers the best value for their spend.
“The forum this year promises to be more exciting than ever before with larger number of domestic and international participants," says Bijou Kurien, President and CEO, Lifestyle, Reliance Retail who has been unanimously elected to chair the magnum opus of Indian retail for the second consecutive year.
Its time now for retailers to shop for success.
Emphasizing the theme of the 2011 IRF, ‘Shopping for Retail Success’ Chief Convenor Amitabh Taneja says that IRF is ‘Where Retailers Shop’ – shop knowledge, ideas, space, shopfit, IT, merchandise and services. The Forum will bring to the participants an opportunity to learn, share and evolve with the masters in the business, explore out-of-the-box ideas, witness innovation in merchandise, spaces, IT and support systems, and celebrate outstanding achievements in the business of retail in India.
“Modern retail in India is poised for real and sustainable growth. After the initial years of reckless expansion and hard lessons, it’s time now to train our sights on building retail businesses that are relevant, successful and enduring", adds Taneja.
IRF 2011 readies to equip retailers to ease consumer worries.
“India, one of the fastest growing global economies, offers a tremendous opportunity to serve its people in several ways, including multi-brand retail. The India Retail Forum provides a distinct platform to bring together some of the finest think tanks and visionaries in retail to share best practices across the globe. I firmly believe retailing is instrumental to India’s economic growth as it provides impetus to agriculture, manufacturing as well as services sector. I look forward to an insightful and eventful session. Time spent here will not only enhance our retailing knowledge, but help build strong partnerships, some of which will go beyond our businesses as we work together on being socially responsible corporations. Let’s all join together to save people money, so they can live better”, Raj Jain, MD and CEO, Bharti Walmart
Talking about frequent slow downs due to fluctuations in consumer confidence Taneja says, “IRF 2011 aims to equip retailers to ease consumer worries about inflation and uncertainties. A healthy sign is that private consumption in India is growing at about 20 percent which is about 4 per cent over & above GDP growth + inflation. While Indian consumers are expected to spend Rs. 55 trillion this fiscal, total retail would be over Rs. 25 trillion growing at 15 per cent+ and the share of modern retail would be over INR 2.06 trillion growing at 30 per cent+. Maintaining and pushing this growth in consumption will be extremely vital for overall economic growth of the country.
“Modern retail has a huge potential to not only benefit from India’s increasing consumption demand but also create demand for value-added products, boost local entrepreneurship, create jobs and raise income levels,” says Kishore Biyani, Founder & Group CEO, Future Group. “At India Retail Forum let us explore how we can collaborate to create consumption demand and offer Indian consumers a better standard of living by providing better products at best prices,” he adds.
Calling upon all stake holders in Retail industry to come together at India Retail Forum and make full use of opportunity to create a sustainable and strong India, Thomas Varghese, Chairman, CII National Committee on Retail and Chief Executive, Aditya Birla Retail says, “with challenging economic conditions in the western world and fear of prolonged slow growth, the focus is shifting to fast growing economies like India. The consistent resilience of Indian economy and healthy domestic consumption growth can be sustained through wider reforms into key sectors like retail. Creating an investor friendly and sustainable environment will grow retailing in India; which will bring large number of employment to Indian youth, increase the spirit of entrepreneurship in farmers & small manufacturers and will give wider choice for Indian consumers”.
B S Nagesh, Chairman, Retail Associates of India – says that he is looking forward to actively participating at the forum and is keen to see how retailers will build the human capital to support the anticipated growth in the industry.
Commending the efforts of the organizers, Nagesh says, "Institutions and industries are built on quality, continuity and sustenance. Images is one such organization which has been supporting the retail industry as a catalyst for two decades now. Irrespective of the ups and downs Images has stood like a pillar and encouraged retail through its publications, research, education, events, awards and retail support services”.
“Retail Industry in India has come forth as one of the most dynamic and fast paced industries with several players entering the market. With the grounds being laid towards further liberalization of this sector and positive steps being taken by the Government in this direction, I am confident that Indian retail industry is set to inch its way towards becoming the next boom industry. I anticipate IRF 2011 to provide an excellent platform to deliberate on the key issues concerning the sector and to work together towards the growth of this sector,” says Rajiv Kumar, Secretary General, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).
IRF 2011 sessions will deliberate on key issues confronting the Indian retail industry, from the macro economic indicators and trends impacting the individual retail businesses to every thing retailers wanted to know about funding and valuation. Among the host of topics to be discussed will be – what ails Indian retail, responsible retailing, understanding the urban consuming class, scope in Tier II & Tier III cities, moving from family owned business to professionally managed one, IT, human resource and retail store design. Some 150 speakers – virtually the who’s who of the retail & consumer industries – will address the delegates.
Modern retail is less than 8 per cent of total retail, which shows the immense potential for growth in the coming few years, a fact not gone unnoticed by global retail giants. FDI in retail has rightly become the burning topic of the day for Indian and international retailers. The inaugural session of IRF 2011 will have experts thrash issues such as the actual facts behind the hype, the route followed by other countries in permitting foreign investments and, most importantly, who gains and who stands to lose when the FDI tap is turned full and why FDI in retail is facing so much flak.
Presenting valuable insights on the subject Prof. P K Sinha, Chairperson, Centre for Retailing, IIM, Ahmedabad and Ireena Vittal, Principal, McKinsey (India) will kick start the conference with recommendations for the industry and government.
IRF 2011 will also debate and brainstorm on challenges facing the future of Indian retail. What is the role of modern retail in driving consumption? How did some retailers grow at their fastest during the most difficult economic phases? Is the growth sustainable? Who is responsible for developing retail infrastructure? What would be the smartest strategies for global players to effect success in India? How can small retailers be involved and engaged in the overall retail growth story?
The IRF this year brings many new features. The first of its kind ‘Master Classes’ by leading experts will be very useful for retail professionals. Equally, enlightening will be a motivational session by Bob Urichuck, the best–selling author, an international sales expert and a renowned cultivator of human potential and a special session to rediscover the soul of Indian Retail with Sri Prasana Prabhu, Senior International faculty, Art of Living foundation. Also presentations by ‘IRF Rising Star Challenge 2011’ finalists with their prism of thoughts and ideas and strategies which none of the marketeers thought of before and doing things differently as they were never done before are bound to receive great attention. It will be sheer delight to hear these young minds from some of the country’s top management institutions.
“A congregation of the most innovative and successful retail brands, companies and minds from across the globe and the entire retail support universe, including retail real estate, design & architecture, merchandise & services, visual merchandising, security and technology, IRF is the ‘Mecca’ for retail captains and policy makers, and is a ‘must attend’ for all businesses wanting to connect with the lucrative–but–complex Indian market and her consumers”, says Anjali Sondhi, Director, Events, IMAGES Group.