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Retail stalwarts deliberate new methods of doing business in the next normal

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The 15th edition of RAI’s Retail Leadership Summit (RLS) 2021 was hosted online on the 24th, 25th & 26th of February 2021, enabling wider participation and audience. Witnessing stimulating exchange of ideas between retail industry stalwarts on the way forward for the Indian Retail Industry into the Next Normal.

The Indian Retail industry was impacted greatly due to the pandemic and is calling for unconventional solutions and government support to be back on its feet. At this juncture, all efforts are required to boost the local economy to help the survival of the retail and restaurant sectors, thus saving millions of jobs. During the summit, retail leaders from India and abroad deliberated ways to go from revival to thriving mode.

During the opening speech at the RLS 2021, Kumar RajagopalanCEO, Retailers Association of India (RAI), said “The year 2020 is a testimony to the resilience of the Indian Retail industry and its capability of innovating on various levels under tough situations. RAI is very proud of Indian retailers and the retail workforce, who ensured that during the lockdown consumers were not left wandering to meet their needs for daily essentials. We are grateful to the central and states governments and local authorities who supported the industry in various ways so that we were able to serve the customers. The pandemic also emphasized the importance of ‘Phygital’ retail by retailers and accelerated its adoption. The digital transformation that the industry has undergone during the pandemic has been revolutionary than evolutionary. The Retail Leadership Summit 2021 (RLS 2021) aimed at reflecting new methods of doing business in the new era of post-COVID changing consumer mindsets.”

Setting the tone, Bijou Kurien, Chairman, Retailers Association of India (RAI) said, “The Indian Retail sector is a significant contributor to the development of this country, contributing to about 10% of the country’s GDP. It is a vibrant sector that is growing rapidly and metamorphosing traditional markets to modern markets. Backed by government reforms as India accelerates towards becoming a growth economy, India is now seen as one of the most attractive destination for the retail industry.”

Guest of Honour Jayesh Ranjan, IAS, Hon. Principal Secretary, Department of Industries & Commerce, Information Technology, Electronics & Communication, Government of Telangana, said in his address, “Never before has the importance of retail been realized like today. When countries, societies and economies are rebuilding themselves one of the biggest concerns at least for the Governments at all levels is how will they bring back jobs that were lost in the Manufacturing sector or the service sectors and other sectors. There is a lot of hope and optimism about retail.”

He also said that Telangana will work with RAI for some retail focused initiatives which the state government is looking at implementing in the near future like rural marts, accelerating digital transformation of small stores/kiranas, and design strategies for transforming retail experience in the state.

The second day of RLS 2021, saw Anil Agrawal, Joint Secretary, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce, Government of India, as the Chief Guest of the day.

The riveting panel discussions over the three days of the Retail Leadership Summit (RLS) 2021 included thought-provoking dialogues between retail leaders on topics such as:

  • Agile Leadership: Doing it Right for Survival, Revival and Success
  • Smart Retailing: Using Digital to Connect with Evolving Consumers
  • From Competition to Collaboration: The Changing Rules of Winning in Business
  • Smart Retailing: Using Digital to Connect with Evolving Consumers
  • Reimagining Business for the Digital Age: Getting it Right
  • Successful Omnichannel Retail Strategies for 2021 and Beyond
  • Retail Renaissance: Old Fundamentals, New Drivers to Unlock Growth
  • Strategic Shift: From Crisis Management to Leading-Edge Change
  • Connected Commerce and Returns: How Can We Move from Free Flowing to Controlled State
  • Brand Impact: Understanding Consumer Trends Affecting Retail
  • Tackling Transformation: Retailing in a Constantly Changing World
  • Ingredients for a Delightful Customer Experience in the Next Normal
  • The Innovation Playbook: Building a Culture of Innovation and Experimentation for Great CX
  • Balancing Act: Managing Risk and Resilience

The summit saw participation of about 150 Indian and International retail leaders such as C.K. Venkataraman, MD, Titan Company Ltd.; Damodar Mall, CEO – Grocery Retail, Reliance Retail Ltd., Devendra Chawla, MD & CEO, Spencer’s Retail Ltd.; Hari Menon, Co-founder & CEO,; Kulin Lalbhai, Executive Director, Arvind Ltd.; Lalit Agarwal, CMD, V-Mart Retail Ltd.; Luca Cassetti, Secretary General – Ecommerce Europe, The European Digital Commerce Association; Peter Betzel, CEO, Ikea India Pvt. Ltd.; Pratik Pota, CEO, Jubilant Foodworks Ltd.; Pushkaraj Shenai, CEO, Lakme Lever; Rahul Mehta, MD, 109F | Fusion Beats | Oxygen, (Creative Garments Pvt. Ltd.); President, CMAI (Clothing Manufacturers Association of India); Rajiv Nair, CEO, Kaya Ltd.; Ramanathan Hariharan, Group Director & Board Member, Landmark Group; Sanjeev Mohanty, MD – South Asia, Middle East & North Africa, Levi Strauss & Co.; Vishak Kumar, CEO, Madura Fashion & Lifestyle (MF&L), Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Ltd. (ABFRL); Venu Nair, MD & CEO, Shoppers Stop Limited; among many others.

Among knowledge reports launched this year during RLS 2021 were the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) – RAI report on ‘The Resurgence of Retail in India – Leading in the New Reality’, and the Deloitte-RAI report ‘KNOW your Consumer’. In addition, RAI, in association with Great Places To Work (GPTW), announced India’s Best Workplaces in Retail 2021.

The 10th edition of ‘TRRAIN Retail Awards 2021’ too was hosted on February 25, 2021 at RLS 2021. TRRAIN Retail Awards, is the world’s only property that recognizes exceptional customer service of retail associates.

The three days of the RLS 2021 came to a close with the felicitation of the crème de la crème of the retail industry with the India’s Retail Champions Awards, and the Retail Start-up Awards that lauds the best emerging retail companies. A panel of eminent personalities from the industry form the Jury, who thoroughly evaluate the entries shortlisted by a reputed audit agency to select the winners. The platform also hosted the Top 10 Best Places to work in Retail 2021.

Over the years, ‘Retail Leadership Summit’ has proven to be the premier platform for retail professionals to gain knowledge, network with peers, potential partners and industry leaders.

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