To read this content please select one of the options below:

Emergence of modern Indian retail: an historical perspective

Anirban Sengupta (Goa Institute of Management, Ribandar, India)

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management

ISSN: 0959-0552

Article publication date: 18 July 2008




The paper seeks to capture the history of the evolution of modern‐format food and grocery retail in India. Its focus is on the time period from 1971 to 2001.


The research is primarily exploratory in nature. Primary research included depth interviews, focus groups and survey through questionnaire with organized retailers, unorganized retailers, consumers, fast‐moving consumer goods manufacturers, channel members and opinion‐leaders. Secondary research involved a review of the existing literature on Indian retail available at that time.


Emergence of modern retail in India is not just a result of increasing consumer buying power – manufacturers and unorganized retailers also have an important role to play in this process at the macro‐level. At the micro‐level, the trigger came from diverse angles like entrepreneurial desire to provide better service to consumers, social desire to provide relief to the masses in the form of lower prices, desire to capitalize on emerging business opportunities being provided by the changing business environment, etc.

Research limitations/implications

Being an early work in this area, the research was exploratory in nature and tried to understand the role of different stakeholders in emergence of modern retail in India. It does not use any statistical technique to prove or disprove any hypothesis. It is focused on the food and grocery retail business.


The paper provides a historical perspective to academics as well as practitioners.



Sengupta, A. (2008), "Emergence of modern Indian retail: an historical perspective", International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 36 No. 9, pp. 689-700.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles