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Retailing promises a complete, enriching working experience

Retail industry is considered one of the fastest evolving industries in India. As per an AT Kearny Survey, India is considered as the second most attractive retail destination from amongst 30 emerging markets. India's vast middle class and its almost untapped retail industry are key attractions for global retail giants wanting to enter newer markets. A.T. Kearney has estimated India's total retail market (current) at $202.6 billion (Approx. Rs. 912 Crore) which is expected to grow at a compounded 30 per cent over the next five years. At present Retail Industry contributes 14 per cent to the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It employs nearly 7 per cent of the total workforce which means 42 Million (4.2 Crore) people. The retail industry is definitely one of the pillars of the Indian economy.

The retail industry is divided into organised and unorganised sectors. Indian organised sector accounts for just 2 per cent of the trade and employs just 500,000 people. Unorganised retailing refers to the traditional formats of low-cost retailing such as the local kirana shops, owner-manned general stores, paan / beedi shops, convenience stores, handcart and pavement vendors, and so on, and employs over 40 million people. This sector is highly fragmented, with about 11 million outlets operating in the country.

As per the market figures the organised sector is expected to grow from two to ten percent by 2010. With the rise in consumer demand, high disposable incomes and increased awareness levels, the retail industry is undergoing a major transition. Various functional aspects of retailing industry are:

  • Retail Merchandising & Category Management
  • Fashion & Apparel
  • Food
  • Jewellery
  • Lifestyle accessories
  • Entertainment
  • Retail Selling & Customer Service Management
  • Store Operations
  • Visual Merchandising & Store Design
  • Retail Marketing & Customer Management

Some of the major players in the industry are:

  • Shoppers' Stop
  • Globus
  • Planet M
  • Titan
  • Madura Garments
  • Pantaloon's Big Bazaar and Food Bazaar
  • RPG group's Giant and FoodWorld, and Metro Cash & Carry

The Indian population is witnessing a significant change in its demographics. A large young working population with median age of 24 years, nuclear families in urban areas, along with increasing working-women population and emerging opportunities in the services sector are going to be the key growth drivers of the organized retail sector in India.

Need for qualified and trained manpower

Qualified and trained manpower is of utmost importance in retail. The need for specialized skills is increasingly felt in the areas of:

  • Strategic management - strategizing, targeting and positioning, marketing and site selection.
  • Merchandise management - Vendor selection, inventory management, pricing.
  • Store management - Layout, display, customer relationship, and inventory management etc.
  • Administrative Management - Human resources, finance, marketing and so on.

Retailing falls under a vertical industry and is not just restricted to malls, as most tend to believe. This industry offers ample opportunity and has room for everyone starting from entry level to senior management level.

Retailing provides employment to the largest section of the population across most industrialised nations. It is an industry that promises a profitable road. The boom in the retail industry has brought with it many employment opportunities in this arena. People with varied skills and talents are required in this fast emerging industry. A career in retailing is considered a challenging option with growth potential.

Sales and Sales-Related Jobs

The sales and sales-related retail career area includes positions like sales associate, cashier, store stock associate, and stock receiver. These frontline positions bring retail's core business of serving the customer and generating sales. The passion for working with all varieties of people, flexibility, level-headedness, problem solving, and teamwork are critical for success in this area. These positions are typically entry points into retail careers. High-end commission-based sales areas like jewelry, appliances, are highly preferred sales jobs. Frontline sales experience is highly valued and many retailers promote from within

Store Operations

Retail professionals in the store operations career area oversee overall store operations and profits. They include Head of Store Operations, Regional Manager, and District Manager, and responsibilities in this area may include managing staff functions like loss prevention and/or human resources.

Store Management

The store manager or management team has responsibility ranging from departmental to overall establishment. Managers at all levels supervise and assist sales and other employees. Additional responsibilities, depending upon store/company size and management level include opening and closing the store, staffing, administration, and financial functions. Promotions to management positions can be earned through experience, or an MBA degree may afford direct entry to management


Depending upon company size, marketing functions may be centralized in one department, divided into different departments (like advertising, sales promotion, art and visual merchandising, and public/press relations), or group in various combinations. Marketing also conducts focus groups and statistical analysis of customer buying patterns to develop strategies and plans that guide marketing components like ads, websites, store signage etc.

Distribution, Logistics, Supply Chain Management

This retail career area oversees movement and storage of consumer products. Responsibilities include management and facilitation of distribution centers, logistics traffic management, trucking and other transportation operations, and may include import/export shipping and related duties.

Merchandise Buying/Planning

These retail professionals select the merchandise to be sold in the stores by sourcing vendors. They facilitate order follow-up, inventory flow through and allocation of merchandise to stores, attending to issues like flow quantities and timing. Statistical development and analysis are increasingly woven into this retail career area, where team members also coordinate gross margin planning/analysis responsibilities, develop distribution plans for merchandise categories and subclasses, and balance stock unit ratios bystore.

IT and E-Commerce

Technology careers are numerous and varied in the retail industry. From web design to servers and network systems management, inventory systems etc. technology careers are growing in the retail industry.


Financial and accounting skills are more than a game in retail; they can be your career! The finance retail career area includes all accounting and treasury functions like accounting for income, paying expenses, compiling and maintaining financial records, money management and cash flow control, banking, investment, and credit lines. Auditory responsibilities also fall into retail career area.

Loss Prevention

The loss prevention career area is responsible for safeguarding company assets and may include risk management issues, like customer and employee safety. Members of loss prevention team work together to prevent and handle merchandise loss due to shoplifting, employee theft, paperwork errors, and vendor fraud. Physical security of store and company buildings is also a part of Loss Prevention.

Human Resources

Recruiting and hiring employees are the most obvious parts. But retail careers in human resources also include a wealth of other responsibilities such as training, designing training programs, overseeing compensation and benefits, and planning for and ensuring legal compliance in hiring and employment practices.


Many retail career areas and positions offer lots of opportunities to be entrepreneurial, without the ultimate responsibility of business ownership.

Moreover, single, independent, and privately-owned retail businesses account for 98% of the retail industry in India.

So, whether you are a plain graduate or an MBA or an IT or Finance graduate, if you have the following qualities, you are sure to conquer one of the fastest growing industries in the world:

1. People skills

2. Zeal

3. Communication skills

4. Team spirit

The industry is set for a boom with the entry of big industrial corporations and international retailers marking their entry into this sector. This industry constantly requires good, motivated personnel. It also promises a complete, enriching working experience with profitable inputs.

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