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Government should leave the retail to MNCs and private players, concur corporate leaders during a Retail Summit at Amity Business School

Amity Business School, Amity University organized its annual Retail Summit – ‘Retaillier’ on the theme “Liberalizing FDI in Indian Retail: The Road Ahead” at Amity Campus, Sector 125, Noida.

The Summit started with a technical session on “Destination India – FDI ” in which corporate leaders such as Mr. Rohit Bakshi-Head-Sub Lease-Retail Support, Cedar Support Services Ltd. (Bharti Wallmart), Mr. Salil Sahu- Managing Director , Home Stores India Ltd., Mr. Manik Dhodi- Vice President - Retail & Hotels, Shipra Group, Mr. Suhas Mishra- Director and Co- Founder, Hector Beverages Pvt. Ltd. and Mr. Swapnil Shrivastav- Founder and CEO, Vriti Infocom Pvt. Ltd. shared their views.

Welcoming the august gathering, Prof. P K Bansal- HOD, Marketing and Sales and Retail Management, Amity Business School remarked, “ the Indian Retail Sector has witnessed a gradual but steady transformation over the last decade. Despite the numerous advances over the years, the sector continues to remain highly fragmented- still primarily dominated by the typical traditional family run stores”. Quoting Global Retail Development Index (GRDI) report published by the leading US based consulting Group, AT Kearney in June 2010, Prof. Bansal revealed that India is the third most attractive retail market for global retailers among the 30 largest emerging markets, providing a tremendous window for international retailers to tap into the growing but fragmented market. The Indian Retail sector is poised for rapid growth and is pegged to be worth US $ 35billion by 2013, with organized retail’s share increasing to 10% from 5 per cent”. Prof. Bansal highlighted the various issues faced by the Retail Sector in India and expressed his hope that solutions to the issues will definitely be mooted during the Summit.

Sharing his views with the gathering Mr. Rohit Bakshi-Head-Sub Lease-Retail Support, Cedar Support Services Ltd. (Bharti Wallmart) remarked that the estimated retail potential of India is $ 580 billion, the reason why foreign players are keen to enter Indian Retail sector. Elaborating on how FDI benefits a country, he said, “Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is one of the major sources of investments for a developing country wherein the country expects investments from Multinational companies to improve the countries’ growth rate, share their expertise and research and development in the host country.” Talking about the role of the Government in the Retail sector, the speaker remarked, “The Government should leave the retail to private sector and MNCs. The government should allow FDI in multi-brand retail which could provide remunerative prices for farmers and fair prices for consumers -- especially during the peak marketing season. He averred that Indian retail sector is already undergoing a change propelled by evolving consumer demand and lifestyles, urban chaos and shortage of retail space. FDI may hasten this change, and even benefit SMEs. He suggested that it would be better if FDI is allowed in phases, giving time for policy adjustments and with appropriate riders on procurement to ensure that small producers gain from it. The debate must shift into the realm of HOW instead of WHY.

Giving a presentation on “FDI in Retail- Impact and Scope for Malls”, Mr. Manik Dhodi- Vice President - Retail & Hotels Shipra Group enumerated the advantages of FDI in Retail Sector from a developer’s point of view. Mr. Dhodi said, “FDI would lead to the revival of the existing retail players who will run into greater competition to retain the customers. This would inspire them to consider optimizing their processes to generate better sales and customer satisfaction .FDI would help the Indian retailers in procuring funds for expansion and improving their supply chain infrastructure. Efficient management practices and economies of scale, coupled with the adoption of global best practices and modern technology, will lead to the development of the Indian Retail sector. New players will enter the market occupying bigger spaces with higher per sq ft rentals for malls, therefore enhancing the occupancy percentage of the Malls. Citing the example of Louis Vuitton when it opened its first outlet in China and the numerous conditions laid down by the Brand for opening the same, Mr. Dhodi expressed that with the increased FDI, the Malls especially in Tier II cities of the country would have options to get more and better occupants, therefore they would not be at the mercy of the existing leading players. ” Mr. Dhodi said that consumer behavior and consumer buying habits are changing, they dont have time and the organized retail sector with their efficient supply chain and latest infrastructure, is thriving by satisfying the changed needs of the consumer.

Sharing his viewpoint and corroborating them with interesting figures during the session, Mr. Salil Sahu- Managing Director, Home Stores India Ltd said that in 2010, total Retail Market was worth $ 410 billion with Traditional Trade worth $390 billion and Modern Trade worth $20 billion. Highlighting the supply chain issues, Mr. Sahu said that total agri production of the country is 180mn tones and the total storage capacity is 24mn tones as a result of which majority of the produce gets wasted. The wastage levels are 30% in fruits& vegetbles and 6% in grains. The Indian farmers, consequently, incur heavy losses. The speaker stressed that in order to combat the situation, Rs. 7687 crores need to be invested in revamping the storage capacity during next 5 years. He remarked that Traditional Trade and Modern Trade can co-exist successfully due to high growth of economy. Stressing on the importance of FDI in Indian economy, Mr. Sahu said that only possible solution for better farm gate prices, reduction of wastages and investments in storage capacity is FDI, Modern Trade can grow only through FDI and global linkages , which are the need of the hour, are possible only through FDI.

During the second technical session on “Retail Operations” prolific speakers such as Mr. D.K. Jairath-COO & Business Head, Hindware Home Retail (P) Ltd., Ms. Arti Kapur- Mr. G.S. Bhalla-CEO & Founder, Cocoberry, Mr. Rahul Pandey- Regional Sales Manager-Fast Track Div. Titan Industries Ltd., Mr. S. Palit- Country & International Head, Greenply Industries Ltd and Mr. Dheeraj Dogra- National Director (Retail), BNP Paribas shared their views on “Supply chain & Logistics”, “In-store branding”, “Technology in retail – Front end and Back end”, “Human Resource management”

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