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FDI in Retail Sector

Retailing is the largest private sector industry in the world economy with the global industry size exceeding $6.6 trillion and a latest survey has projected India as the top destination for retail investors. And the further upsurge is anticipated in the retail sector as the Government of opened up 51% FDI in single brand retail outlets. And as the government is in a process to initiate a second phase of reforms, it is cautiously exploring the avenues for multi-brand segment. The Government is seeking for these options keeping in view the existing social framework of India and the will ensure that the entry of global retail giants do not displace the existing employment in the retail business.

Industry experts are sensitive to the point that local markets have an edge over the retail investors in India as they have unique advantages such as an understanding of local needs and extended service like home delivery. As the FDI influence on the Indian retail sector sets in, the total size of the retail trade is expected to grow extensively in the coming years and the consumer segments patronizing the big malls will create frenzy for organized retailing predicting a growth of 25-30 per cent per annum over the next decade. Moreover, Indian retail chains would get integrated with global supply chains since FDI will bring in technology, quality standards and marketing thereby, leading to new economic opportunities and creating more employment generation.

Industry trends for retail sector indicate that organized retailing has major impact in controlling inflation because large organized retailers are able to buy directly from producers at most competitive prices. World Bank attributes the opening of the retail sector to FDI to be beneficial for India in terms of price and availability of products as it would give a boost to food products, textiles and garments, leather products, etc., to benefit from large-scale procurement by international chains; in turn, creating jobs opportunities at various levels.

As foreign investors exploring their potentials in the retail sector, are keen on developing malls in India, the size of organized retailing is expected to touch $30 billion by 2010 or approximately 10 per cent of the total. This has initiated market-entry announcement from some retailers and has signaled to international retailers about India’s seriousness in promoting the sector. While there are reports of international retailers like Wal-Mart analyzing business opportunities in India; Reliance, the largest Indian conglomerate is investing $3.4 billion to become India’s largest contemporary retailer. There are also reports of investments for ‘Hypercity Retail’ by K.Raheja Group to establish 55 hypermarkets by 2015. All these factors will contribute in taking Indian retail business to unexpected growth based on the consumer preference for shopping in congenial environs and also availability of quality real estate.

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