| A busy shopfloor at Shoppers’ Stop
Growth in retail developments in smaller and tier-B cities across the country will shape evolution in the Indian retail sector, according to Geoff Marsh, founding director of India Property Research Ltd (UK).
Marsh, a visiting professor of built environment at the University of Westminster, London, was speaking at Retail 2003, the two-day summit organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) at a city hotel this week.
While hailing the mall explosion, Marsh stressed on the need to preserve the traditional business districts as well. “Car-based big-format retail shouldn’t come up at the expense of these old marts. Pedestrianisation and creating points of uniqueness are ways to keep them alive and prevent a polarisation towards the new,” he added.
He said retail should expand and spread to the smaller cities where consumers have “very good purchasing power”, stressing on the need for the industry to constantly reinvent itself and be more accountable. He said with the opening of FDI in retailing, investments would come directly to India.
Conducting a workshop on real estate on the second day of the meet, Marsh dwelt on the evolution of structured retailing property in India, forecasting supply trends and international perspectives, demand-supply balance, integration of the common man into the mall and allied issues.
K.S. Rajendrakumar, principal secretary, department of urban development, said the government was concerned about the external retail environment and stressed on the need to evolve newer policies in line with the changes in the industry. CII eastern region chairman Sanjay Budhia said the retail sector has been “growing at a faster rate than any other industry in India” and has been a major source of employment over the past few years.
Conducting the workshop on ‘Inventory management & solutions for retail’ on the second day, R. Subramanian, consultant, SAP India, said: “IT can be an enabler, and is not the means to an end.” Participants were informed of the changing trends and requirements, reflected in the shortening of the product life cycle.
Hemendra Mathur, manager, KSA Technopak, conducting the workshop on customer care, stressed on the need to “understand customers, develop customer strategy through extensive research and identify the right customer through segmentation” based on different criteria like socio-economic category, age, income, occupation, gender and durable ownership.