Ja­cob Mathew

Founder Id­iom De­sign & Con­sult­ing Ltd


In Ret­ro­spect: 2012

There was a change in the mar­ket from 2009 on­wards when ef­fects of the global re­ces­sion started hit­ting our shores. There has been a sig­nif­i­cant slow­ing in the real es­tate busi­ness, thereby di­rectly af­fect­ing the re­tail de­sign busi­ness as well. There was a slow­ing down of projects which in turn af­fected cash flows. In the In­dian re­tail in­dus­try, there has been a con­sid­er­able de­cel­er­ate in roll-out of stores by ma­jors, a trend of con­sol­i­da­tion; shut­ting down of non per­form­ing stores and fine tuning of con­cepts in terms of more bang for the buck for ex­ist­ing con­cepts and fewer new re­tail con­cepts coming on stream. We are also see­ing more of the re­gional re­tail­ers and smaller en­tre­pre­neur­ial re­tail­ers tak­ing bold steps into the more or­ga­nized re­tail mar­ket. Be­sides, there has been a pro­lif­er­a­tion of re­gional and lo­cal re­tail­ers ap­pear­ing in the larger shop­ping malls, which were hith­erto a chal­leng­ing space for them. We now have sev­eral clients who are ven­tur­ing into malls and mul­ti­ple out­lets for the first time.

Ar­rival of FDI

In the short term it has been more of a mood el­e­va­tor than a busi­ness el­e­va­tor. It will be some­time be­fore FDI re­leases a flood of new in­vest­ment both into In­dian com­pa­nies and for­eign com­pa­nies coming in to do busi­ness. The rid­ers of state level pol­icy have added un­cer­tainty and the pro­nounce­ments of threat­ened roll-back by the op­po­si­tion and frac­tious coali­tion part­ners have not helped the risk per­cep­tion of do­ing busi­ness in In­dia. Over­all, it is a good move and will bring in in­vest­ment in the years to come. IKEA is the only com­pany that has an­nounced a game plan but the rest are still in a wait and watch mode and cau­tious about mov­ing for­ward. The In­dian in­dus­try will have to ac­cel­er­ate in terms of get­ting world class qual­ity and pro­fes­sion­al­ism, but would need to keep a tight con­trol on costs and im­prove time ef­fi­ciency as well. Also, a more qual­i­fied and trained man power is re­quired which is cur­rently miss­ing.

Look­ing Ahead: 2013

Firms need to ex­pand the mar­ket and not merely com­pete for mar­ket share. There will be some level of spe­cial­iza­tion that will also come in such as roll out first or con­cept first firms, hos­pi­tal­ity and food ser­vices fo­cused firms and so on. Many of the newer and smaller en­trants re­quire com­pre­hen­sive ser­vices. There would also be op­por­tu­ni­ties for col­lab­o­ra­tion and co-cre­ation. Most im­por­tantly, there are prospects for uniquely In­dian con­cepts to sur­face even as we get in­te­grated into a uni­form global shop­ping en­vi­ron­ment.

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