In recent times, there has been debate over the entry of large corporate houses into the retail sector in India. This study finds that both traditional and organized retail can not only coexist but also achieve rapid and sustained growth in the coming years. The findings of this study are based on the largest ever survey of various stakeholders and an extensive review of international experience, particularly emerging countries of relevance to India. There has been competitive response from traditional retailers through improved business practices and technology up gradation. Consumers and farmers gain considerably from the entry of organized retail. The organized retail sector is capable of taking care of itself, but public policy needs to help create a level playing field for traditional retailers. Based on the results of the surveys, the authors have made a number of specific policy recommendations for regulating the interaction of large retailers with small suppliers and for strengthening the competitive response of the traditional retailers.
Mathew Joseph is a Senior Consultant at ICRIER, New Delhi. He had worked earlier in USAID India State Fiscal Reform Project as Deputy Chief and Senior Adviser (2005-2007) and as Head of Research at ICICI Bank (1995-2002). He also worked in the Ministry of Finance, GoI, as Deputy Economic Adviser (1990-1995). He holds a Ph D in Economics from the University of Glasgow, UK. His research interests include open-economy macroeconomics, public debt management, financial sector, industry, regional development, retail and global governance. Nirupama Soundararajan is a Research Associate at ICRIER, New Delhi.