EAST IN­DIA’S RE­TAIL CZARS

Talk Growth, Change & In­dus­try Trends

Images Retail - - RETAIL ICONS OF EAST INDIA - – By IM­AGES Re­tail Bu­reau

A com­bined ef­fort by both Cen­tral and State gov­ern­ments in terms of ap­pro­pri­ate zon­ing laws, trans­parency in own­er­ship and avail­abil­ity of loans for re­tail land are play­ing a de­ci­sive role in mak­ing the East the new re­tail hub of the coun­try...

East In­dia is in the cusp of be­ing trans­formed from a tra­di­tional cus­tomer base into a brand con­scious, prod­uct-savvy mar­ket. Its young gen­er­a­tion is shop­ping and de­mand­ing both fash­ion and qual­ity along with value for money spent from re­tail­ers. Re­tail­ers – big and small, branded and un­branded, re­gional, na­tional and even in­ter­na­tional – are gear­ing up to meet these im­pos­si­ble de­mands re­tail­ers, and some very suc­cess­fully. To cater to evolv­ing con­sumers, re­tail­ers are wak­ing up to the im­por­tance of man­ag­ing re­tail­ing ef­fi­ciently and ef­fec­tively. Re­tail man­age­ment saves time and en­sures the cus­tomers eas­ily lo­cate their de­sired mer­chan­dise and re­turn home feel­ing sat­is­fied that they have re­ceived what they have paid for.

The con­sumers’ am­bi­tions to reach global stan­dards in life­style, cou­pled with high dis­pos­able in­comes, are ag­gres­sively script­ing a rad­i­cal change in the busi­ness vi­a­bil­ity of or­gan­ised re­tail­ing East In­dia. Re­tail­ers are for­mu­lat­ing new and modern strate­gies and tac­tics to keep up with chang­ing con­sumer dy­nam­ics and ac­cord­ingly pro­vide the best for their users.

IM­AGES Re­tail Bu­reau, spoke to the Re­tail Czars of the East, who gave us de­tails on their growth, in­dus­try trends, chal­lenges and how to over­come these bot­tle­necks. Here are ex­cerpts from the chat…

In­dus­try Over­view & Growth

The re­tail sec­tor in In­dia is the sec­ond largest em­ployer af­ter agri­cul­ture. In East, the sec­tor used to be highly frag­mented and pre­dom­i­nantly con­sisted of small in­de­pen­dent, own­er­man­aged shops. In the last decade or so, the re­gion has slowly eased into the groove of modern trends. Rapid ur­ban­i­sa­tion has boosted con­sumer de­mand in the fields of fash­ion, F&B, and lux­ury – which in turn has given an im­pe­tus to re­tail growth.

“Over the past few years there has been a dy­namic change in East in terms of re­tail. All good brands in all dif­fer­ent fields have come up and many are in the pipe­line. I think re­tail has a huge scope, to take an ex­am­ple eastern In­dia largest mall South City mall is go­ing un­der a tremen­dous ren­o­va­tion. The rea­son be­hind this is that all big re­tail brands are com­ing there. Even we have one show­room there and soon we are com­ing up with an­other one in the same mall. Jew­ellery re­tail is dif­fer­ent, peo­ple pre­fer to come to the store and check it out them­selves be­fore mak­ing a de­ci­sion to buy. In past three to four years, we have seen a dras­tic change in East specif­i­cally in Kolkata with new malls and new brands emerg­ing, which is def­i­nitely a pos­i­tive sign for re­tail sec­tor, said Pratik Du­gar, Di­rec­tor, In­dian Gem and Jew­ellery Cre­ation.

“The In­dian re­tail in­dus­try has emerged as one of the most dy­namic and fast-paced in­dus­tries with the en­try of sev­eral new play­ers. The in­dus­try has im­mense po­ten­tial as In­dia has the sec­ond largest pop­u­la­tion with af­flu­ent mid­dle class, rapid ur­ban­i­sa­tion and solid growth of in­ter­net. Smoothly rid­ing the crest of Eastern In­dia’s as­pi­ra­tion wave and chang­ing shop­ping trends in the met­ros, Tier II and III cities of the re­gion have driven the con­ven­tional trader-run stores to morph into more or­gan­ised, large-for­mat re­tail out­lets. And, to fa­cil­i­tate this growth of re­tail, many re­tail re­alty projects have sprung up in all ma­jor mar­kets of East In­dia. The home fur­ni­ture mar­ket of In­dia has ob­served a steady evo­lu­tion over the past decade with a shift in cus­tomer per­cep­tion to choose or­gan­ised brands in­stead of de­vel­op­ing fur­ni­ture prod­ucts from car­pen­ters. The in­crease in knowl­edge about de­signs, wood ma­te­ri­als and pric­ing schemes has pro­pelled the In­dian cus­tomer to choose more branded prod­ucts,” added Arun Biyani, Di­rec­tor, Mo­bel In­dia Pri­vate Ltd.

SHOP­PING IN MOST PART OF EASTERN IN­DIA IS HIGHLY IN­FLU­ENCED BY COM­MU­NITY AND RE­GIONAL FES­TI­VALS, WHICH LEADS TO HIGH CON­SUMP­TION OF PROD­UCTS IN FASH­ION AND FOOD CAT­E­GORIES. – Man­ish Agar­wal CEO East, Fu­ture Group WITH THE SPREAD OF ON­LINE SHOP­PING THE BRAND EX­PO­SURE AND AS­PI­RA­TIONS HAVE CER­TAINLY IN­CREASED ACROSS THE RE­GION. – Shi­tan­shu Jhun­jhun­walla Di­rec­tor, Tur­tle

Re­tail­ers are of the view that Tier II cities are pro­pel­ling re­tail growth and craft­ing suc­cess sto­ries. Cities like Patna, Bhub­hanesh­war, Ranchi and Raipur are show­ing ex­tremely ro­bust de­mand. Cur­rently two pop­u­lar for­mats – hy­per­mar­kets and su­per­mar­kets are grow­ing very fast. From the brick-and-mor­tar for­mat to brick-and-click and fi­nally clickclick for­mats – all are mak­ing their pres­ence felt on the eastern re­tail land­scape, gain­ing mo­men­tum among Mil­len­ni­als.

“Re­tail mar­ket has been un­der­go­ing a tremen­dous makeover in Eastern In­dia. The new age gen­er­a­tion is more in­clined to new ways of spend­ing their dis­pos­able in­come, which is pro­pel­ling growth of re­tail­ers. The on­set of e-com­merce has also cre­ated great aware­ness among peo­ple re­gard­ing brands and stores which are not even present in their cities. Thus, it be­comes eas­ier for new brands to set up in new cities,” said Vikram Khin­wasara, Co­founder, The Yel­low Straw.

“The Eastern re­gion mar­ket is still de­vel­op­ing - apart from a few Tier I & II cities most other smaller towns still de­pend on small mom-and-pop stores or they travel to big­ger cities for their shop­ping needs. How­ever, we are see­ing more brand pen­e­tra­tion in Tier III & IV cities with large for­mats like Bazaar Kolkata, Pan­taloons and Re­liance Trends for­ay­ing here. We are also see­ing some ex­cel­lent per sq. ft. and top-line rev­enues be­ing gen­er­ated from these smaller towns as well. With the spread of on­line shop­ping the brand ex­po­sure and as­pi­ra­tions have cer­tainly in­creased across the re­gion. Go­ing for­ward more phys­i­cal store pres­ence and on­line pres­ence will drive the growth and evo­lu­tion of this mar­ket,” stated Shi­tan­shu Jhun­jhun­walla, Di­rec­tor, Tur­tle.

“The re­tail mar­ket of Eastern In­dia is a grow­ing mar­ket. Since the mar­ket is bare in com­par­i­son to the mar­kets in the other re­gions of the coun­try, the rate of growth is wit­ness­ing a con­tin­u­ous growth. It has al­ways been a value con­scious mar­ket and East In­dia ap­pre­ci­ates the brands that are value added,, added Su­vankar Sen, Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor, Senco Gold and Di­a­monds.

Ac­cord­ing to Man­ish Agar­wal, CEO East, Fu­ture Group, “The re­tail mar­ket of the

East is very en­cour­ag­ing. The pop­u­la­tion den­sity in Eastern States of West Ben­gal, Bi­har, Jhark­hand, Orissa and North East is quite high. Both ur­ban and ru­ral cen­ters are do­ing quite well. Shop­ping in most part of Eastern In­dia is highly in­flu­enced by com­mu­nity and re­gional fes­ti­vals, which leads to high con­sump­tion of prod­ucts in fash­ion and food cat­e­gories. Modern re­tail pen­e­tra­tion is in­creas­ing at a rapid pace. Com­pe­ti­tion in the or­gan­ised re­tail space is com­par­a­tively low in the Eastern part of the coun­try. Many of big cities of East

In­dia like Kolkata, Bhubanesh­war, Patna, Ranchi, and Guwa­hati are ex­pand­ing rapidly and most of these cities act like re­gional cen­tres lead­ing to high res­i­dent and float­ing cus­tomers. Few cities like Silig­uri, Dur­ga­pur, Asan­sol, Muzaffarpur, Cut­tack, Jhamshed­pur, Dhan­bad, Bokaro, Rourkela are also de­vel­op­ing and ex­pand­ing at a good pace. Con­struc­tion of new homes is also lead­ing to growth in con­sump­tion of house­hold prod­ucts.”

Aksh Sahni, Busi­ness De­vel­op­ment An­a­lyst, Grace Craft Pvt Ltd, said, “As far as the re­tail in­dus­try in East is con­sid­ered, the mid­dle and lower seg­ments are wit­ness­ing growth. The con­sumer wants value for money. The small growth in the up­per seg­ment of the mar­ket is pseudo growth in my opin­ion. I don’t con­sider that as growth. Fac­tors pro­pel­ling growth: In­flu­ence of pro­gres­sive cities in the West, North and South while peo­ple from the East are ma­jorly on jobs in those three re­gions. It is the de­mand of these peo­ple who have ex­po­sure to their cul­ture that brings new brands and con­cepts to the East.”

“Pur­chas­ing power has in­creased over the last two to three years. We have opened three stores till now in East In­dia and feel there is im­mense scope for re­tail in­dus­try here,” said Deep Agar­wal, Di­rec­tor, Knot Me.

“Eastern In­dia has been the least ac­tive re­gion to con­tribute in the evo­lu­tion of or­gan­ised re­tail. While our peers from south and west were torch bear­ers, Eastern In­dia re­mained fo­cused on its tra­di­tional forte. In the last few years with the ac­tive sup­port and par­tic­i­pa­tion of re­gional gov­ern­ment, east is emerg­ing as the fastest grow­ing re­gion in con­sumer elec­tron­ics re­tail. It will con­tinue to pro­pose a strong and steady growth as emerg­ing mar­kets in Odisha and Bi­har will shine in years to come,” said Pulkit Baid, Di­rec­tor, Great Eastern Re­tail.

Chal­lenges & Bot­tle­necks

Eastern In­dia has all the po­ten­tial to be­come an up­com­ing hub of modern re­tail. But cer­tain fac­tors, in­clud­ing fa­cil­i­ta­tion of en­trepreneur­ship, cre­ation of qual­ity in­fra­struc­ture and up­lift­ment of poor are crit­i­cal if con­sumers in East In­dia are to take the lead in modern re­tail.

“Hur­dles are never-end­ing there but the most im­por­tant thing is we need to learn to cope with them. The in­tro­duc­tion of GST in the jew­ellery sec­tion was one of the big­gest chal­lenges. The crafts­men who make the jew­elry are not ed­u­cated, they don’t know how to han­dle the ac­counts also but over the time they will get used to it,” said Du­gar.

“First and fore­most, the avail­abil­ity of qual­ity real es­tate space at rea­son­able price is a ma­jor prob­lem. The sec­ond chal­lenge is scarcity of skilled and ed­u­cated man­power and high rates of tax­a­tion,” added Biyani.

Ac­cord­ing to Piyush Kankaria Co-founder, The Yel­low Straw, “One of the big­gest prob­lems in this part of the coun­try is the mind­set of the man­power which is an im­por­tant as­pect to run the re­tail out­lets. A great prod­uct backed with an equally great sales team can do won­ders. This can be prob­a­bly re­solved to an ex­tent by ex­ten­sive and con­tin­u­ous train­ing. An­other ex­ist­ing chal­lenge is the mind­set of the cus­tomers. If we leave aside the new age gen­er­a­tion, peo­ple are quite averse to ex­per­i­men­ta­tion as most of them like to be in their com­fort zone. New in­no­va­tive mar­ket­ing strate­gies can help over­come this par­tic­u­lar prob­lem.”

“There are two ma­jor chal­lenges, First and fore­most is the lack of real es­tate. Good malls or high street shop­ping ar­eas where mar­ket ex­ists is very few and con­cen­trated. This makes store space avail­abil­ity very rare and lim­ited and also in­creases the rentals costs for the same rea­son. The other chal­lenge is the lack of trained man­power, es­pe­cially in the smaller towns. When a brand pen­e­trates the smaller towns – most of the man­agers and store staff have to be trained or brought from the larger towns. Em­pha­sis­ing on cre­at­ing more train­ing cen­tres and man­power avail­abil­ity will drive growth in fu­ture,” said Jhun­jhun­walla.

Knot Me’s Agar­wal stated that in Tier II cities, peo­ple still pre­fer pur­chas­ing from a gen­eral store. They don’t dis­tin­guish the prod­uct on the pa­ram­e­ters of brand and qual­ity. They just go for it on the ba­sis of­price due to which the re­tail in­dus­try is grow­ing slowly.

THE RE­TAIL MAR­KET OF EASTERN IN­DIA IS A GROW­ING MAR­KET. SINCE THE MAR­KET IS BARE IN COM­PAR­I­SON TO THE MAR­KETS IN THE OTHER RE­GIONS OF THE COUN­TRY, THE RATE OF GROWTH IS WIT­NESS­ING A CON­TIN­U­OUS GROWTH. – Su­vankar Sen Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor, Senco Gold and Di­a­monds THE IN­CREASE IN KNOWL­EDGE ABOUT DE­SIGNS, WOOD MA­TE­RI­ALS AND PRIC­ING SCHEMES HAS PRO­PELLED THE IN­DIAN CUS­TOMER TO CHOOSE MORE BRANDED PROD­UCTS – Arun Biyani Di­rec­tor, Mo­bel In­dia Pri­vate Ltd.

“The big­gest chal­lenges are the lack of qual­ity in­fra­struc­ture, re­tail spa­ces and man­power. The only way to over­come the bot­tle­necks is to in­vest heav­ily in the in­fra­struc­ture and train­ing of man­power. The spe­cial re­tail pol­icy by the gov­ern­ment should also be there,”added Sen.

“More than prob­lems and chal­lenges, we have a huge scope for im­prove­ment as the op­por­tu­nity that ex­ists in this re­gion is quite large. There is a need for more avail­abil­ity of qual­ity re­tail spa­ces, in­dus­try-friendly poli­cies and newer labour laws to fa­cil­i­tate man­u­fac­tur­ing and ser­vices. We need more high-street de­vel­op­ments and newer shop­ping malls to come up. Fu­ture Group has al­ways be­lieved in the po­ten­tial of East and con­tin­ues to do so. All our re­tail for­mats have started from Kolkata and from there we have ex­panded to other cities of East and other parts of the coun­try,” said Man­ish Agar­wal.

Baid said that the big­gest prob­lem in the East was the ab­sence of qual­ity re­sources. “The ab­sence of in­sti­tutes and poor work cul­ture forces re­tail­ers to com­pro­mise on the qual­ity of the prod­uct avail­able at their stores,” he stated.

“Look­ing at the cur­rent sce­nario of East, we ex­pect a sus­tain­able growth for our brand in Kolkata. But at the same time we are also aware about the fact that, if the things do not take a U-turn in Ben­gal, be­ing the big­gest money spin­ner in Eastern In­dia, es­pe­cially in terms of cor­po­rate houses or busi­ness houses putting up sub­stan­tial money into build­ing up In­dus­tries in West Ben­gal, the ob­jec­tive of achiev­ing a de­sir­able and sub­stan­tial growth will not be pos­si­ble. How­ever we are still hope­ful of this turn­around tak­ing place in the near fu­ture with the gov­ern­ment tak­ing up cor­rec­tive mea­sures in re­spect to im­prove the im­age of West Ben­gal in the eyes of In­dus­trial gi­ants,” con­cluded De­vansh Bi­nani, Di­rec­tor, Hi­malaya Op­ti­cal.

Why the East is Lag­ging Be­hind

If you com­pare the Eastern mar­kets to the re­tail in­dus­try in the North, South and West zones, the East is still lag­ging, although good brands have started tap­ping the re­gion in all seg­ments – F&B, cloth­ing, and jew­ellery be­ing the fore­most.

“Ev­ery­thing takes time, but once it catches pace, ev­ery­thing falls in place. If we com­pare to the mar­kets of Delhi, Mum­bai or other cities in West and North, we still have a long way to go. I think East In­dia, over the past few years has done a tremen­dous job of get­ting good brands to Kolkata and its near­est cities,” said Du­gar.

“The in­dus­try should or­gan­ise train­ing and wel­fare meets with all the peo­ple. The gov­ern­ment should make changes in the law, as many of them are old and are not even ap­pli­ca­ble to modern re­tail. Laws should be amended ac­cord­ing to time and need. We also need to abol­ish ‘In­spec­tor Raj’ and tax­a­tion should be mod­er­ate,” said Biyani.

Ac­cord­ing to Khin­wasara, the pres­ence of big brands is some­thing that the Eastern part of the coun­try is lag­ging be­hind in. “Most brands turn to East In­dia only af­ter they have es­tab­lished them­selves in the West, South and North, which is sur­pris­ing con­sid­er­ing the fact that ease of start­ing or run­ning a re­tail busi­ness is com­par­a­tively eas­ier in this part of the coun­try,” he said.

In Jhun­jhun­walla’s opin­ion, the spend­ing power and con­sump­tion habits in the East are more con­ser­va­tive. Peo­ple are more prone to save in com­par­i­son to those in other parts of In­dia. “The edge the East has is the con­sumers are more loyal to­wards a brand or for­mat and aren’t eas­ily swayed by new play­ers. The over­all store op­er­a­tions cost is also lower in

FOR THE GOOD MALLS IN THE EAST, THE RENTALS ARE DIS­PRO­POR­TION­ATE TO RE­TURNS. ANY BRAND THAT OPENS FOR THE SAKE OF PRES­TIGE BLEEDS TO SUR­VIVE. RE­TAIL IN BIG MALLS ISN’T A MONEY-MAK­ING PROPO­SI­TION IN THE EAST. – Aksh Sahni Busi­ness De­vel­op­ment An­a­lyst, Grace Craft Pvt. Ltd. THE AB­SENCE OF IN­STI­TUTES AND POOR WORK CUL­TURE FORCES RE­TAIL­ERS TO COM­PRO­MISE ON THE QUAL­ITY OF THE PROD­UCT AVAIL­ABLE AT THEIR STORES. – Pulkit Baid Di­rec­tor, Great Eastern Re­tail

most towns com­pared to the other parts of the coun­try, he said.

“Vis­ual mer­chan­dis­ing and staff smart­ness are the two key ar­eas where the Eastern mar­ket is miles be­hind the rest,” added Sen.

Man­ish Agar­wal was of the opin­ion that East needs more qual­ity shop­ping malls with flag­ship stores of pop­u­lar brands. “We also need more cities to de­velop and grow. Re­tail busi­ness takes a gi­ant leap where there is a high den­sity of pop­u­la­tion. Ad­van­tages can also be at­trib­uted to grow­ing mid­dle class, ris­ing dis­pos­able in­come, grow­ing as­pi­ra­tions for im­proved liv­ing es­pe­cially among the youth seg­ment. As re­tail­ers are now look­ing for scale, sus­tain­abil­ity and growth, Eastern In­dia with its pop­u­la­tion and un­tapped mar­ket po­ten­tial has the big­gest ad­van­tage,”he stated.

“Cus­tomers are happy that brands are reach­ing the East, but they don’t want to pay for brand names. They do not value the in­tan­gi­ble in­put of the prod­uct but only eval­u­ate the cost of the ma­te­rial in­put. As a re­sult, high-end brands do not bring in fresh stocks to this part of the coun­try. The edge which East has over oth­ers is the fact that there is a lot of value for money es­pe­cially since they are man­u­fac­tur­ing and sell­ing low-priced prod­ucts which are in great de­mand,” said Sahni.

Aayush Rungta, Di­rec­tor, Hoff­men Fash­ions sums it up suc­cinctly say­ing “Trained man­power short­age is a chal­lenge fac­ing the or­gan­ised re­tail sec­tor in East In­dia. The East In­dian re­tail­ers have dif­fi­culty in find­ing trained per­son and also have to pay more in or­der to re­tain them. The avail­abil­ity of man­power is an ad­van­tage , but need of the hour is to have more in­sti­tu­tions who can en­sure the sup­ply of Trained Man­power.”

How the Gov­ern­ment Can Help

Con­trary to pop­u­lar be­lief, the East has been the breed­ing ground for many ma­jor re­tail brands and large for­mat re­tail play­ers who are present across mul­ti­ple cat­e­gories.

“The Gov­ern­ment should take nec­es­sary steps to pre­vent the emer­gence of pri­vate mo­nop­o­lies in re­tail trade. A sin­gle large for­mat re­tailer should not be al­lowed to cap­ture a large mar­ket share. For this it is im­por­tant to re­strict the num­ber of re­tail out­lets that a sin­gle pri­vate en­tity can open in a city, state as well as re­gion. The state gov­ern­ments or ur­ban lo­cal bod­ies should levy an ac­cess on the VAT on all goods sold by large for­mat re­tail out­lets (in­clud­ing those in the pub­lic sec­tor) in or­der to cre­ate a level play­ing field be­tween the or­gan­ised and un­or­gan­ised re­tail­ers. In or­der to pre­vent the de­vel­op­ment of big pri­vate mo­nop­o­lies it is also im­por­tant for the Gov­ern­ment to en­sure its pres­ence in the mar­ket. Sev­eral gov­ern­ment mar­ket­ing agen­cies ex­ist, both at the Cen­tral as well as State lev­els, which need to be re­vived and made to rein­vest in mod­ern­iz­ing in­fra­struc­ture,” added Biyani.

“Maybe a bet­ter, more re­laxed com­pli­ance pol­icy as well as li­cens­ing struc­ture – these will cer­tainly work to­wards lur­ing more brands to the East along with pro­vid­ing them with some sort of tax re­lief or bet­ter fi­nan­cial fa­cil­ity. How­ever, this is eas­ier said than done,” said Kankaria.

“The in­dus­try and gov­ern­ment should pro­vide more real es­tate op­por­tu­ni­ties to open more malls, food parks, re­tail parks around the state with con­trolled rental costs. They should open re­tail train­ing cen­tres and in­sti­tutes which would pro­vide job op­por­tu­ni­ties within the re­gion. To­day a lot of man­power from the east mi­grates to other parts of In­dia for bet­ter job op­por­tu­ni­ties and money,” said Jhun­jhun­walla.

ONE OF THE BIG­GEST PROB­LEMS IN THIS PART OF THE COUN­TRY IS THE MIND­SET OF THE MAN­POWER WHICH IS AN IM­POR­TANT AS­PECT TO RUN THE RE­TAIL OUT­LETS. A GREAT PROD­UCT BACKED WITH AN EQUALLY GREAT SALES TEAM CAN DO WON­DERS. THIS CAN BE PROB­A­BLY RE­SOLVED TO AN EX­TENT BY EX­TEN­SIVE AND CON­TIN­U­OUS TRAIN­ING. – Piyush Kankaria Co-founder, The Yel­low Straw

“The in­dus­try along with state ad­min­is­tra­tion should ease the statu­tory re­quire­ments in car­ry­ing out large scale re­tail op­er­a­tions. They should un­der­stand the labour laws and shop and es­tab­lish­ment laws for mom and pop stores and large re­tail­ers can­not be the same. An ac­com­mo­dat­ing and wel­com­ing ap­proach by the state gov­ern­ments will help give re­tail in eastern In­dia a much-needed boost,” said Baid.

“There is an ur­gent need to have a ro­bust busi­ness-friendly re­tail pol­icy. Be­sides this, we also need train­ing schools would help the re­tail­ers to learn the tech­ni­cal as­pects of the modern re­tail,” stated Sen.

“A ded­i­cated com­mit­tee should be set up by the ur­ban lo­cal bod­ies, with rep­re­sen­ta­tion from street ven­dors and small re­tailer as­so­ci­a­tions, which should be em­pow­ered to grant li­censes to or­gan­ised re­tail­ers and carry out their busi­nesses from a mar­ket place with ba­sic in­fra­struc­ture. A well planned move should be taken to evac­u­ate the foot­paths and set­tle the street ven­dors in proper mar­ket places,” said Kavita Sam­sukha, Pro­pri­etor, In­dia Silk House Ex­clu­sives.

“I think putting more dis­pos­able in­come into the hands of the pub­lic will be a good step. This will give the cus­tomers a medium to af­ford and spend more in dif­fer­ent, more so­phis­ti­cated cat­e­gories of re­tail like those of higher pay­ing cities,” added Sahni.

“The gov­ern­ment needs to fire up in­dus­trial rev­o­lu­tion which will kick­start the growth in the East. It will also boost con­fi­dence in the lack­lus­ter mar­ket of the Eastern re­gion of the coun­try,” stated Dhi­raj Ladha, Di­rec­tor, C K In­ter­na­tional.

Pro­mot­ing East’s ‘Or­gan­ised Re­tail’ Sec­tor

“I am sure the Gover­ment is do­ing its best to bring more good brands in the city and we have seen it over past few months, ev­ery­thing takes time I be­lieve. Re­tail sec­tor plays a very im­por­tant part for the con­sumer mar­ket. More the num­ber of shops in the mar­ket, there will be more con­sumers. Build­ing new tech­no­log­i­cal equipped malls and stores would be a fan­tas­tic turn around for the eastern re­gion mar­ket,” said Du­gar.

“As far as the or­gan­ised re­tail sec­tor is con­cerned they should make a care­ful study be­fore mak­ing in­vest­ments be­cause the need of the hour and big­gest chal­lenge is the re­tail space and the cost of rentals. The new prac­tices that have emerged such as out­sourc­ing ser­vice, fran­chis­ing pri­vate la­bels etc. have great po­ten­tial in gen­er­at­ing em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties. Since the re­quire­ments of or­gan­ised re­tail sec­tor are huge there­fore the en­trepreneurs should jump at these promis­ing prospects, their lik­ing or 455 pref­er­ences. The anal­y­sis also showed that the cus­tomers are sav­ing more in the un­or­gan­ised re­tail than the or­gan­ised re­tail,” said Biyani.

“Or­gan­ised play­ers need to be ac­knowl­edged in­dus­try-wise pan In­dia. There needs to be a proper chan­nel through which their achieve­ments can be boasted about and a way through which they can be made to feel at par with other re­gions of the coun­try,” said Khin­wasara.

“We need to open more shop­ping malls in East In­dia and need to pro­mote modern trade. We also need to make con­sumers un­der­stand the qual­ity dif­fer­ence be­tween a store present in the mall in com­par­i­son to that on the high street and lo­cal mar­ket,” said Deep Agar­wal.

“We need to have bet­ter real es­tate avail­abil­ity. There is a huge op­por­tu­nity for or­gan­ised re­tail in the East In­dia,” said Jhun­jhun­walla.

Ac­cord­ing to Baid: “Or­gan­ised re­tail­ers need to wear the lo­cal hat to at­tract the tra­di­tional cus­tomers of the re­gion and win them over. Modern re­tail needs to blend seam­lessly with tra­di­tional re­tail more in such mar­kets where cus­tomers are lured by an emo­tional con­nect.”

“Al­ready lot of work has started by the re­tail­ers and the as­so­ci­a­tion to build more aware­ness and fo­cus on build­ing or­gan­ised re­tail in East. Re­tail­ers have very ag­gres­sively started ex­plor­ing and pen­e­trat­ing the Tier II &III cities. We need af­ford­able re­tail spa­ces along with more malls and brands. En­cour­ag­ing en­trepreneur­ship and cre­at­ing qual­ity in­fra­struc­ture are an im­por­tant as­pect for the growth of modern re­tail,” said Agar­wal

“East is one of the most un­or­gan­ised mar­kets of In­dia, but the vol­ume of trade and the size is com­mend­able and is grow­ing at an un­ex­pected rate. There are sev­eral fac­tors which need to be taken care of in the field of tech­nol­ogy, in­fra­struc­ture, lo­gis­tics and skill de­vel­op­ment. De­vel­op­ment at each stage is re­quired to bring the East In­dia Re­tail at par with the rest of the coun­try,” said Ladha.

THE GOV­ERN­MENT NEEDS TO FIRE UP IN­DUS­TRIAL REV­O­LU­TION WHICH WILL KICK­START THE GROWTH IN THE EAST. IT WILL ALSO BOOST CON­FI­DENCE IN THE LACK­LUS­TER MAR­KET OF THE EASTERN RE­GION OF THE COUN­TRY. – Dhi­raj Ladha Di­rec­tor, C K In­ter­na­tional WE ALSO NEED TO MAKE CON­SUMERS UN­DER­STAND THE QUAL­ITY DIF­FER­ENCE BE­TWEEN A STORE PRESENT IN THE MALL IN COM­PAR­I­SON TO THAT ON THE HIGH STREET AND LO­CAL MAR­KET – Deep Agar­wal Di­rec­tor, Knot Me

The Fu­ture

The true de­mo­graphic div­i­dend of In­dia would re­main un­tapped if the Eastern re­gion is not ex­plored. As re­tail­ers are now look­ing for scale, sus­tain­abil­ity and growth, East In­dia with its huge pop­u­la­tion base and un­tapped mar­ket po­ten­tial poses to be ‘The Mar­ket for To­mor­row.’

Over the past few years, re­tail­ers have re­alised the scope and op­por­tu­nity of this zone and now they seem to be all set to reap the de­mo­graphic div­i­dend. While un­til a few years ago, many re­tail brands seemed hes­i­tant to step into this mar­ket, to­day they are vy­ing to build pres­ence.

“Cities like Guwhati, Silig­uri and suburbs of West Ben­gal are wit­ness­ing a ma­jor change and com­ing 10 years we will def­i­nitely be stand­ing at par to in­ter­na­tional mar­kets too. A lot has been done in the de­vel­op­ment sec­tor which will even­tu­ally help a lot to the re­tail sec­tor. 10 years is a very long time and if we go at the same pace then Eastern In­dia re­tail mar­ket will def­i­nitely be a unique place,” said Du­gar.

Biyani ex­pressed some con­cern for the mar­ket, say­ing: “I see it hit by high rentals and low foot­falls, one-third of re­tail­ers at shop­ping malls in large cities such as Mum­bai, Del­hincr, Chen­nai, Ben­galuru and Kolkata are shift­ing to Tier II and III cities. De­vel­op­ment in a Tier II and III city is more chal­leng­ing as the tar­get au­di­ence is in the process of chang­ing its buy­ing and con­sump­tion pat­terns. In a metro, one has com­pe­ti­tion, and the con­sump­tion pat­tern is al­ready set, so the value propo­si­tion is a lit­tle dif­fer­ent. How­ever, in all cases, the ‘ex­pe­ri­ence’ one de­liv­ers to the cus­tomer is what de­fines one’s suc­cess.”

“Tier II and III cities are un­tapped mar­kets where it is im­por­tant for re­tail­ers to es­tab­lish their brands. Both these state­ments es­tab­lish the im­per­a­tive need for cre­at­ing vis­i­ble brick-and-mor­tar pres­ence by brands and re­tail­ers. The process has al­ready be­gun in real earnest by both re­gional and na­tional play­ers, ev­i­dent by the pres­ence of brands in dif­fer­ent for­mats. Eastern In­dia has all the po­ten­tial to be­come an up­com­ing hub of modern re­tail. But cer­tain fac­tors, in­clud­ing fa­cil­i­ta­tion of en­trepreneur­ship, cre­ation of qual­ity in­fra­struc­ture and up­lift­ment of poor are crit­i­cal if con­sumers in East In­dia are to take the lead in modern re­tail. In ten years, this re­gion should def­i­nitely see one of the bet­ter rates of growth as com­pared to any other re­gion be­cause of the lim­it­less pos­si­bil­i­ties here. Peo­ple have tremen­dous amounts dis­pos­able in­come in this part of the coun­try and are will­ing to spend on new re­tail chains or brands. It’s just the ques­tion of avail­abil­ity,” said Kankaria.

“I see the pen­e­tra­tion in towns other than Kolkata, Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Bhubanesh­war and Guwa­hati in­creas­ing sub­stan­tially. I hope to see at least a mall in all the Tier II &III towns in ten years from now. We would see more na­tional and in­ter­na­tional play­ers en­ter the eastern re­gion, re­cently brands like H&M, Star­bucks, Hard Rock Café have en­tered the eastern re­gion, with brands like For­ever 21 and Zara soon to fol­low, said Jhun­jhun­walla.

“East In­dia is gear­ing to be ex­plored on a larger plat­form. The process and signs are al­ready vis­i­ble. With the help of the Gov­ern­ment, modern re­tail will cre­ate huge job op­por­tu­ni­ties, ful­fill as­pi­ra­tions of mil­lions of con­sumers. Mid­dle class is be­ing up­graded to higher level, value re­tail seg­ment will grow at a rapid pace. Lux­ury seg­ment is also show­ing in­creased pen­e­tra­tion, Tier II & III cities are be­com­ing new growth en­gines. An im­proved com­mu­ni­ca­tion sys­tem, real es­tate de­vel­op­ment, ur­ban­i­sa­tion and grow­ing ser­vice sec­tor all are help­ing and act­ing as growth driv­ers in the re­gion. East is un­doubt­edly ‘the’ mar­ket to be in for the next 10 years. We are very sure that every brand and re­tailer in East would def­i­nitely not miss this golden op­por­tu­nity to grow,” said

Man­ish Agar­wal.

“I see mild growth in the lux­ury seg­ment, but medium and lower re­tail seg­ment will con­tinue to flour­ish at a good pace. East In­dia’s Re­tail in­dus­try is see­ing a mas­sive makeover all around. Many new value re­tail­ers can be seen in all the parts, but premium and semi-premium stores are still to fo­cus on the east. In the com­ing years, they will be fo­cus­ing on the East as well. East In­dia re­tail is still strug­gling for its pace with the rest of In­dia, but hope­fully, this will im­prove in the com­ing years as many am­bi­tious projects are com­ing up. Many home groups have started their op­er­a­tions and are do­ing good and grow­ing fast. The rate of growth and con­sump­tion is yet to cope with the other parts of In­dia. We take this as an op­por­tu­nity, so there is am­ple space to grow and shine,” con­cluded Sahni.

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