Having stumbled upon Retail as a career many years ago I soon discovered that 'dukandari' was my vocation after all. However its been a bumpy ride till a year ago and I am a bit astounded by how fast Indian Retailing is growing now. Though stupendous projections of large Research companies haven't exactly matched reality but I think we have taken huge strides and by 2010 we should definitely be going places provided the government does some more hand holding. The number one problem that Indian retailers face today is the non availability of retail space at reasonable costs. Would it to be too utopian to imagine the government's IT initiatives finding a parallel in Retail ? Retail Parks in every city with generous parking space ? Subsidies, concessions for the Retail Industry which till now has been steadily limping along without any help from the government? An Industry which is a as much a face lift for modern India as Aishwarya Rai or the impending commonwealth Games.
There is no denying the fact that there are a handful of large corporates that make organized Indian Retail. However if FII is allowed in unlisted retailing companies, there is no stopping this sector to grow into a giant industry.
Large issues considered, there is an overwhelmingly basic issue that plagues Indian Retail. At a retail summit a couple of years back I got an opportunity to listen to the very dynamic MD of a south Indian retail chain called Subhikhsha who said that as a career "Retail is an alternative to going to jail". Sadly that is very much the reality. Before McDonald's made Retail glamorous, any job was better than working in a shop. Even at the Management level, there were no takers for Retail till a few years ago and it was frankly amusing to see a bunch of IIM graduates being inducted at Barista by serving coffee at the Cafes for a month ! The situation is changing of course and frontline salaries must break the stereotype in order to attract youngsters to opt for Retail as a serious career option.
I am convinced all this and more will happen in the very near future and its going to be as much fun being a Retailer as being the Consumer !!! Ladies look forward to a lot more Queendom.