‘Organised, unorganised retailers can co-exist in India’

October 6th, 2008 - 11:38 am ICT by IANS  

KPMGNew Delhi, Oct 6 (IANS) India’s organised and unorganised retail sectors can co-exist and thrive, says a top government official, who foresees bright prospects for the retail industry in the country.”It is quite possible for both the organised and unorganised sector retailers to co-exist and flourish,” said Rakesh Kacker, additional secretary, Department of Consumer Affairs, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution.

“India has a huge potential for growth in retailing sector. It is picking up at a reasonable pace. The organised and unorganised retail sectors will go from strength to strength together,” Kacker told IANS on the sidelines of an international retail summit here.

An Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry of India(Assocham)-KPMG study has pegged India’s total retail market at $353 billion in 2008, which it says is projected to grow at eight percent annually to touch $416 billion by 2010.

“The organised retail, which currently accounts for seven percent of the retail market, is projected to grow at a much faster pace of 40 percent per annum to touch $51 billion by 2010,” said the study of Assocham, an industry lobby.

The unorganised retail sector in India has been the traditional employer to a large number of people across the country. A retail outlet in an unorganised sector feeds a household of six to seven members.

Agreed Praveen Khandelwal, secretary general of the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), a city-headquartered body of India’s nearly 5,000 trader associations.

“A retail outlet in the unorganised sector takes care of minimum 10 persons. It is the lifeline of scores of people in semi-urban and urban India, while doing yeoman’s service in rural areas,” Khandelwal told IANS.

CAIT has decided to begin at least 500 retail schools to train retailers in the unorganised sector to meet challenges emanating from the entry of big players into the retail sector.

According to Khandelwal, India has nearly 50 million traditional or unorganised retailers, who need to be adequately trained to face the onslaught from the major retail players.

“Whatever problems the unorganised sector retailers are facing today need to be articulated and should be addressed. The government will be more than happy to work with trade bodies to ensure that dynamism in the unorganised sector remains intact,” said Kacker.

The Indian retail industry has seen phenomenal growth since 2001 and has currently several key players like Future Group, Trent Ltd, RPG Enterprise, Vishal Retail Ltd, Shoppers Stop Ltd, Bata India Ltd, Provogue India Ltd, Aditya Birla Group, and Reliance Industries.

“Traditional retailers are faced with a major challenge with the entry of corporate houses into the organised retail sector. Our retail schools will equip them with adequate skills and know-how to continue to grow,” added Khandelwal.

The latest edition of India Retail Report, brought out by private research firm Images F and R along with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and other organisations, says the domestic retail market will touch Rs.18.1 trillion (Rs.1,810,000 crore or $402 billion) by 2010.

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