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In Spotlight: MBA In Retail Management

India's retail sector on growth path; Time for sectoral MBA

The current rate at which the retail industry is spreading its wings all over the country indicates only one thing that it will remain a lucrative pond. 


The economy of India is touching new heights, and that too against many odds. As it comes along in a shining fashion, the changes are already being felt by people of this country and they are happily ready to welcome them.

The number of Indians who can afford of living a top-notch lifestyle is rising. The industry that is literally responsible for a swift turnaround as to how people of this growing economy live is the Retail Sector.


When the economy of India got liberalized in 1991, there was a great deal of hope swaying around that people here will be able to get whatever they wished for. Certainly, this is the case now, in 2011, 20 years after the start of the liberalization process. In effect, the moment India latched onto the idea of going global; people’s behavior and choices in the country also got a significant facelift.


The triggering force behind people’s growing desires to acquire everything they hoped for is their rising income which has seen a lot of improvement. This change in mindset also led to their curiosity towards purchasing branded luxury items from outside.


In retrospect, the retail sector in India could be referred to as its one of the fastest growing sectors with a lot of potential. So let’s familiarize ourselves with this strong portion of the Indian economy which has ensured the country to be regarded as the next emerging retail destination.


The current rate at which the retail industry is spreading its wings all over the country indicates only one thing that it will remain a lucrative pond for both national and international players to swim in.


Before this, it is important to know that there are two types of retail business implemented everywhere. One of them is the organized retail and the other one is unorganized retail.


Since India has been a traditional market for a long time, the latter has always dominated the psyche of people in the country. The unorganized type of retail usually comprises small and medium grocery stores, medicine stores, subzi mandi, kirana stores, betel shops etc that have long been the prime medium to cater to the several needs of the Indian people. Even today, 90% of retailing done in the country belongs to the unorganized sector according to a report by AT Kearney.


However, the tide seems to be shifting rapidly now. With increasing awareness about their likes and dislikes among the Indian people, the organized retail (whose growth rate was merely three percent till now) seems to have gone far ahead. It is expected to grow at a rate of 25 to 30% annually, according to a report by RNCOS. No wonder the number of malls, supermarkets and departmental stores coming up in metros in five years down the line will be too high as a result, making the organized retail as the ultimate target point for the investors to put their money into.


The factors that are reinforcing this trend
India’s economy being in a strong position is the first among many propitious signs for the massive boom taking place in retail business inside the country. What can’t be disputed with respect to this positive phase India is going through is also its population extension, the rising level of affluence coupled with the rapid construction of organized infrastructure all contributing to a big blown-up retail environment. The demographic dimension of the country is another advantage playing out in its favor.


Not far behind is the food retail market which is growing at a rate of 9% per annum. The arrival of players like McDonalds, KFC, RK Foodland, Jubilant Food Works (Dominos) and many more are bringing in a plethora of eating options for the Indian public. Hence, it’s a huge pot that needs to be utilized productively as it is expected to be worth US$ 150 billion by 2025, according to a report by KPMG. Followed by this, the other arenas like apparel, electronics, cosmetics & toiletries, mobile handsets and accessories and grocery too will be occupying the large share of the retail market. In between all this, the luxury brands are also seeing a sea change as the younger generations have their own varying aspirations to look forward to together with escalating income levels.


As this massive turnaround comes floating by, the need for well-decorated space is bound to emerge. This is where the boom in retail sector might also be making the real estate sector look like a hot property arena. In short, the current retail industry will soon be churning out tremendous sales from US$ 395.96 billion in 2011 to US$ 785.12 billion by 2015, thus making it one of the most money-spinning ventures and business models in the country (according to the Business Monitor International (BMI) India Retail Report). After all, it generates 12% of India’s GDP and employs almost 8% of the population with the existing growth rate at 8.5%. According to the statistics maintained by the Government of India, the jobs created by the retail sector will be huge, close to 10 to 15 million in the next five years. Moreover, according to a report by global consultancy and research firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the value of Indian retail sector will be worth US$ 900 billion by 2014 up from US$ 500 billion at this time.


Presently, the top Indian retail players in the market are Bharti Retail, Aditya Birla Retail, Pantaloons Retail, Shopper’s Stop, Lifestyle, Landmark Group, K Raheja Corp Group and Reliance Retail. Rather it is turning into a competitive race among the old and the new players as well to get hold of this profitable sector. Hindustan Unilever, the country’s largest consumer Products Company is also determined to enter the market with its own coffee product. Even Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts (US most popular coffee chains) are busy making plans to launch their products in the Indian retail industry. The other big foreign giants planning to come to India to launch their products are Wal-Mart, Tesco, Germany's Metro AG, Carrefour, Boots Group and many others.


As the international retail giants begin to infiltrate the Indian retail sector, the FDI investments in the sector is expected to rise enormously. According to the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) the upsurge of FDI investments in single-brand retail trading in the Indian retail sector was reported to stand at US$ 128.34 million. Most importantly, there is the rural segment of India that too is going to witness extraordinary changes as the next phase of retail revolution moves countryside. It would be generating 50% of retail business of the country by 2012, according to a market research report published by RNCOS (an industry research firm).


To put it in perspective, India is now the progressive hallmark of global prosperity thanks to its economy doing extremely well and creating a lot of scope for sectors like this to flourish quite independently. Henceforth, the Indian public will be enjoying and saluting the subtlety of free market where they will have access to multiple products because of this competitive sector facing new dominant players.


As the retail sector grows bigger and bigger, there would certainly be an urgent requirement to bring in new talents familiar with the know-how of this fast changing sector at each and every stage.


In essence, the format of the retail sector is taking a whole new turn and emerging with complex challenges. To meet these challenges, the skilled manpower is crucial. And that’s why there is no dearth of excellent job opportunities pertaining to this sector today. Not to forget, India is considered as the third most attractive market for retail investment in a list of 30 other emerging markets, according to the US-based global management consulting firm, A T Kearney in its 9th annual Global Retail Development Index (GRDI) 2010.


Few learning lessons: The downfall of Subhiksha
The collapse of Subhiksha as a retail chain was the biggest debacle to have occurred out of nowhere in the Indian retail history. The downfall provided several learning lessons to the retail sector players.


Started by R. Subramanian, an IIM graduate from Ahmedabad in 1997, it was the largest supermarket chain in India at the time. It had 150 stores across the country till 2006. Initially, powered by good results it was on the road to charting out massive expansion plans across the country. Within two years, the number of outlets it owned was 1600.


Top industry experts have attributed the downfall to several factors, including problems with funding strategy, supply management, and tough competition from emerging players like Reliance Fresh, RPG, Future Group.


Road to Management Career in Retail Sector
The retail sector needs skilful and smart professionals to meet the growing needs of this sector. Where will they come from? Undoubtedly, from the B-schools which are committed to providing the intelligent pupils who can tackle what lies there. For MBA aspirants, the retail sector is one of the most lucrative career options to dig their feet into.


Here are some of the reputed institutes which offer specialized MBA programs for the Retail sector:


XLRI Jamshedpur- It is one of the leading institutions in the country offering courses related to retail sector. The course it offers is Post Graduate Certificate in Retail Management (PGCRM) through satellite mode. The duration of this study course is 12 months. It is planned in such a way that people looking for managerial careers in the retail sector could easily fulfill their dreams. The enrolled students will first get to know about general business management and then retail management. Along the way, they would also be made familiar with Retail Communications Management, Customer Relationship Management, and Merchandising Management etc. For more info visit


Narsee Monjee Institute of Management (NMIMS), Mumbai - It offers full time MBA in Retail Management. The course would be touching upon various aspects pertaining to this huge industry like Financial Analysis & Management, Retail Sales Techniques, and Strategic Management for Retail Industry, Integrated Retail Communication etc. The duration of the course is two years. For more info visit


IMT-CDL, Ghaziabad- The course offered by it with respect to retail sector is PGDRM in Retail Management. The students of this program will be able to know about the modern concepts related to this sector such as in-depth consumer behavior and customer relationship management, promotional strategies, marketing culture followed in this sector and many more. The duration of the course is one year. For more info visit


NIIT Imperia - It offers a course in Retail Management. Basically, it is known as Retail Management Program. The participants will come to know about merchandising and purchase experience, value of assortment, shopper behavior, and logistics & supply chain management and many other things. The course is of one year. For more info visit


Symbiosis Center for Distance Learning, Pune- SCDL offers PGDRM in Retail Management. The students are taught about various formats of the organized sector such as planning and designing, merchandising, operations and logistics, franchising, store branding and marketing, database management and lots more. It is a one year program. For more info visit


Retailers Association of India- This Association offers PGPRM in Retail Management covering multiple areas of this industry like understanding contemporary retail management issues at the strategic level, adopting retail specific knowledge called for by the corporate retail sector etc. The duration of it is one year. For more info visit


Amity University - It offers full time MBA in Retail Management. The students of this program are made familiar with innumerable areas of this sector such as Business Environment & Strategic Analysis, Retail Sales & distribution Management, Merchandising & category Management and many more. The duration of the course is two years. For more info visit


K.J.Somaiya Institute of Management Studies & Research, Mumbai - The course offered by it is PGDM in Retail Management. It’s a two year full time program. For more info visit


Birla Institute of Management Technology (BIMTECH), Noida –The course offered by BIMTECH is PGDM in Retail Management. The areas covered under this course are basic retailing and management concepts, fundamentals of marketing and selling, managerial aspects etc. It’s a two year full-time program. For more info visit


Jaipuria Institute of Management, Lucknow - The course offered by it is PGDM in Retail Management. The areas covered by it are Retail Selling Skills, Marketing Research, Merchandise Management, Retail Banking and many more. The duration of it is two years. For more info visit


It’s high time that the MBA aspirants should start focusing on the might of retailing in India. This is where the next business revolution is taking shape.

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