The much-awaited report prepared by the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (Icrier) on how big-box retailing will impact traditional mom-and-pop stores is out, nearly a year behind schedule.
The think tank says in the government-sponsored study that reform in retailing will not be a “zero sum game”. That is, both the big boys and the corner shops will grow in the years ahead. That’s not surprising in a rapidly growing economy. But, there will be relative winners and relative losers. The nine policy proposals that Icrier has suggested do implicitly recognize that there will be some pain, even though the main thrust of the report underplays this uncomfortable fact.
Our calculations show that Icrier is assuming organized retail will grow five times faster than small stores, which will grow slower than even the nominal GDP—and will be relative losers. India needs modern retail. But, many who do not adapt will cry foul. The challenge will be to steer policy through these whirlpools.