* Retail is the biggest industry in the world with sales touching US$ 7.2 trillion
* Every tenth billionaire in the world is a retailer
* Twenty-five of the top 50 Fortune 500 companies are in retail

If you enjoy being at the center of customer action and would like to fell the sense of running your own business at an early age, then retail could be your calling. However, if you are looking for hierarchy status and a corporate existence, then retail is not for you.
Rated as the fifth most attractive, emerging retail market in the world, India is viewed as a potential goldmine for global as well as domestic majors. India's total retail market is estimated at Rs. 9,300 billion of which organized retail is at Rs. 300 billion and is expected to grow at a compounded rate of 30 per cent over the next five years. Currently estimated to employ nearly 15 per cent of educated Indian adults, the industry has the potential to employ over two million people in the next four to five years.
The retail sector is witnessing a lot of changes as traditional formats make way for new ones. The figures are indicative of the tremendous growth and buoyancy there is in the Indian retail sector. This, in turn, has enhanced the scope and value of the industry and has made it a very attractive one for prospective employees. The organized retail industry has grown from two to about 3.5 per cent today. There are 55 malls in operation and in the text couple of years, there should be 200 malls in operation across the country. With these levels of growth, there is high scope in this dynamic business. Also, retail is no longer regarded as a New Age profession, but has become an established one with high potential and high growth, organized retail is not limited to major cities. Prominent retailers having gained significant market share in Tier I cities, are eager to cash on and expand into unexplored Tier II cities for establishing broad based visibility and consequently brand loyalty. They are introducing several new concepts, and exploring new structures for space acquisitions etc. Comparatively, low real estates prices in tier II cities is one of the major attraction.

Smaller cities like Lucknow, Kanpur, Amritsar, Ludhiana, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Chandigarh, Nasik, Nagpur and Indore are also expected to see a remarkable growth in the number of malls. An enclosed air-conditioned space with branded merchandise may not be sufficient to lure consumers to shop. Sementation of malls depending upon the needs of the catchment zones and existing gaps, like Luxury, up-market, masses or low end mall, proper planning, accurate identification of needs, quality products at lower prices, right store mix & timing, would ensure unique propositions to the consumers. From supply side, many developers have identified organized retailing as one of their core business activities; and have therefore committed to develop at multiple locations. The strong economic growth has led to the increased level of interest from international developers and investors in the Indian real estate. Retail development, being a specialized field, has attracted many renowned players to participate in the retail boom in India. Nuclear families are rising, as is the trend of double income households. A large section of urban. population now join workforce at a relatively lower age.

Moreover, with technological exposure and frequent visits to abroad, the upper and middle classes have gained increased awareness of western concepts of entertainment and shopping. The government recently announced foreign direct investment in retail will be allowed upto 51 % in single brand products, with prior government approval. This is aimed at attracting investment, technology and best global practices. However, domestic demand for such branded products remains the key driver. This announcement is expected to provide a boost to premium and luxury brand retailers, serving select clientele. Large Indian corporate groups like Reliance, Tatas, Piramal, Rahejas etc. are exploring opportunities in the retail sector. There are a lot of career options in the retail industry today. A career in retail offers a more diverse range of occupations than most other industries. These include:

Sales: Every retail store depends upon the sales force to sell its merchandise. The position is an entry-level one.
Store Manager : Store managers are responsible for managing an individual store. Most store managers take on the duty of running the day-to-day operations of the store.
Retail Manager: Apart from under standing the mindset, habits and lifestyle of the customer, the Retail Manager determines the layout of merchandise, monitors stock levels, places orders for new stock, manages the supply chain and keeps and analyses.
Retail Buyers and Merchandisers: They are responsible for selecting the merchandise for a store and then physically buying the goods.
Visual Merchandisers: Retail design or visual merchandising plays an important role in this business. Designers or Visual Merchandisers are the ones who give the brand a face.
Supply Chain Distributors and Logistics and Warehouse Managers: This is amongst the most vital areas of organized retailing and normally is the differentiator between modern chains, more so when it comes to perishable goods retailing.
The majority of jobs are at the shop floor level or in sales. These account for approximately 60-75 per cent of the total jobs in retail. Other job opportunities are in Merchandising, Visual Merchandising, Customer Relationship Management and in the Marketing and Supply Chain segment.
Personal Traits: Prospective candidates should be responsible, have problem solving abilities, be able to take quick decisions and be creative. They should have good analytical skills and never-ending enthusiasm as well as high-energy reserves. Good knowledge of the concepts of the various functions of retailing is very essential. A neat appearance and being knowledgeable about the goods would be critical qualities for success in retailing. Pleasant manners, resourcefulness and good memory are considered an asset in retailing. Retail is a commonsense run business that combines customer orientation with a fine sense of systems and processes. So, if you like handling people and people situation and have a systematic, rationale bent of mind, you can be very successful in the retail industry. In other words, the key qualification required is attitude.


* Birla Institute of Management Techonolgy, Birla Vidya Niketan, Pushpa Vihar, Sector-IV, New Delhi-110017 (year full-time P.G. Diploma' in Retailing & Merchandising Management.
* Asia-Pacific Institute of Management, Opp. Pocket-E, Sarita Vihar, New Delhi-110016 (www.asiapacific. edu) 2 year P.G.Diploma in Management with super specialization in Retail Management.
*Indian Retail School, N-10, South Extension-1, New Delhi- 110049
(www.indianre tailschool. com). and (ii) Retail Management (Lifestyle Retailing); 6-months duration courses (iii) retail marketing & Merchandising Management (iv) Retail Store Operations/Management and (v) Retail Supply Chain Management; 3 months courses (vi) Retail Selling Skills (vii) Customer Care (Fashion & lifestyle) (viii) Visual Merchandising.
*K J Somaiya Institute of Management Studies & Research, Vidyavihar, Mumbai-400077 and Pantaloon Retail (Indian) Limited (months full-time Diploma in Retail Management (DRM) (including 6 months professional practice at Pantaloon).
*SASMIRA, Sasmira Marg, Worli, Mumbai-400030 (Apparel Merchandising/Retailing.
*Garware Institute of Career Education and Development, Vidyanagari, Kalina, Santacruz (E), Mumbai-400098 (Part-time Diploma in Retailing.
*Pearl Academy of Fashion, A-21/13, Naraina Industrial Area, Phase II, New Delhi 110028 [www.pearlacademy. com] 2- years P G Diploma in Fashion Retail Management and 4 year BA Hons in Fashion Retail & Merchandise Management.
*Mudra Institute of Communications, Shela, Ahmedabad 380058 (12 months full time PG programme in retail communications management.)
*ITM-CDLHP Global Leadership Centre, ITM Campus, 25/26 Institutional Area, Sector-4, Kharghar E, Navi Mumbai- 410210 (Retail Management & Marketing.)
*Retailers Association of India (RAI), 111/112 Ascot Center, Next to Hotel Le Royal Merdien, Sahar Road, Andheri (E), Mumbai-400099 (2 months course in Professional Retailing Skills after 10+2/equivalent.)
*Welingkar Institute of Management Development & Research, LN Road Matunga (CR)- Mumbai-400019 and at Ernen Arcade, Krishna Nagar Industrial Layout, Hosur Road, Bangalore- 56029 (6 month Professional Programme in Retailing (PPR) after 10+2.)
*Kohinoor Business School, Khandala (18 months P G in Retail Services Management.)
*Apeejay Institute of Business Studies, Plot No 23, Sector 32, Institutional Area, Gurgaon- 122001.

Suresh Chandra :(The author is Delhi based Counsellor.)