With a retail boom sweeping India, private entities from the Gulf region are making a beeline to invest in the sector but are wary of some challenges in the huge and diverse market, according to experts in Dubai.
"Over the next two years, India is planning to develop a staggering 518 shopping malls across the country. Typically every 100 miles, the food and language changes, which means that your communications has to be key," Srinath Sridharan, head of lifestyle business and strategic alliances at Wadhawan Holding Private Limited in India was quoted as saying by Gulf News.
The size of the country is another factor that could deter retailers from investing in India, said Shubhranshu Pani, president, retail services at Trammell Crow Meghraj Property Consultants.
He said Woolworths, a major department store in South Africa, was concerned about producing garments suitable for different climates existing at the same time of a year.
Susil Dungarwal, head of retail (west and south) at Emaar MGF, said the time is right for global companies to enter Indian retail market. But he too outlined several challenges facing these companies, including the ability to secure space in "legitimate and retail friendly properties" which are more than 500,000 square feet in size.
He also highlighted a lack of retail talent in India, but said the 15 million people in unorganised retail sector have the basic skills to make the jump into organised retail.
"By 2015 almost 72 per cent of the population would be under 35-years-old, which I think will contribute to the highest number of consumers in the world."