Retail’s Brightest Minds Convene at Retail Leadership Summit 2024 to Forge Future Pathways

March 4, 2024, Mumbai: The Retail Leadership Summit 2024 (RLS 2024), organised by the Retailers Association of India (RAI), took place on February 28 and 29 at the Hotel Westin Powai Lake, Mumbai. This annual event brings together the brightest minds in retail to explore forward-thinking strategies within the industry.

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Welcoming the audience at RLS 2024, Kumar Rajagopalan, Chief Executive Officer, Retailers Association of India (RAI), said, “In 2023, the retail industry witnessed a tale of two halves: robust growth initially, followed by a plateau. This reflects the criticality of aligning with market dynamics and consumer needs. We’re observing a transformative shift, with retailers blending digital and physical experiences to create seamless consumer journeys. The key to future success lies in harnessing the power of omnichannel strategies and understanding the evolving consumer preference for convenience and trust. As we move forward, embracing innovation and agile responses to market trends will be pivotal in shaping the retail landscape.

Setting the tone for the summit, Bijou Kurien, Chairman, Retailers Association of India (RAI), expressed,  “The retail industry in India is poised for significant growth in the year ahead. Driven by an 8%+ growth in GDP in Q3 FY’24 and based on steady investment by the Government and Private sector, consumption is bound to grow. The combination of online commerce coupled with offline expansion, driven by a more technology savvy consumer with greater aspirations would herald significant changes in retail structure, and channel strategy. Retailers and brands are gearing up for aggressive growth, particularly eyeing tier 2 cities for deeper market penetration. This strategic focus not only indicates a broadening of access for consumers but also signifies a shift towards tapping into the burgeoning demand in emerging urban centres. This optimistic outlook underscores the sector’s resilience and its pivotal role in the broader economic landscape of India.”

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Highlights of RLS 2024 included presentations and knowledge reports by RAI-Boston Consulting Group report titled ‘Unlocking the $2Tn retail opportunity by 2030: An activist agenda’, RAI-Deloitte report titled ‘Future of Retail: Profitable Growth through Technology and AI’, RAI-KPMG report titled ‘Achieving seamless commerce in India’ and PWC report titled ‘How India shops online: Consumer preferences in the metropolises and tier-1, 2, 3, 4 cities’. Furthermore, Best Retail Workplaces 2024 report by RAI – Great Place To Work was unveiled and the respective teams were felicitated.

The Summit saw the participation retail leaders, as well as top names in the retail service provider space. Retail stalwarts speaking at the summit included Hari Menon, CEO & Co-Founder, bigbasket, Lalit Agarwal – V-Mart Retail; Sagar Daryani, Co-Founder & CEO, Wow! Momo Foods, Avnish Anand – CaratLane; Avnish Kumar, Director, Neeru’s; Sanjay Vakharia, CEO, Spykar; P Jayakumar – Apollo Pharmacy; Rajiv Nair – Kaya Ltd; Samir Srivastav- Looks Salon; Satyen Momaya, CEO, Celio Future Fashion; Gautam Saraogi, CEO, Go Fashion (India) Ltd (Go Colors); among many others.

Speaking during the panel discussion on RLS 2024, Lalit Agarwal, Founder & MD, V-Mart Retail, discussed creating experiences in retail that resonate deeply with customers, especially budget-conscious customers, to make them feel smart and stylish within their means. He emphasised on emotional connection through personalised service and storytelling, making customers feel valued and understood. Lalit Agarwal advocates for building strong brand connections that extend beyond the store, through all interactions, including advertisements. This approach aims to turn customers into authentic influencers, leveraging word-of-mouth for brand promotion. The key is continuous engagement and storytelling, which ensures customer loyalty and organic growth.

Noting the importance of strategy differences across retail categories, Rajesh Jain, MD & CEO, Sports & Leisure Apparel (Lacoste India), highlighted the approach in the premium fashion segment, emphasising a uniform customer experience across online and offline channels without price differentiation except during season-end sales. He said that this strategy aims to cultivate customer habits and preferences for purchasing channels, whether for convenience online or the experience in-store. By maintaining consistent pricing and service, customers understand the brand’s value proposition, reducing their expectation for discounts and fostering brand loyalty.

Furthermore, Darpan Mehta, Director Tax, APAC International Stores, Amazon (US and India) and Vivek Somareddy, VP, Emerging Markets, Seller Experience and Global Trade, Amazon (US and India) made a presentation on “Unlocking Mechanisms and Working Capital for Business Expansion”.

Additionally, the second day of RLS 2024 featured a keynote speech by David Macadam, CEO of the Middle East Council of Shopping Centres (MECSC) and the International Council of Shopping Centres (ICSC). This was succeeded by a dynamic panel discussion titled ‘Mahasangram: Retail and Retail Real Estate,’ bringing together prominent figures from both retail real estate and retail industries for an engaging exchange of ideas.

Mall Developers participating in the discussion were Abhishek Bansal, Executive Director, Pacific Group; Dalip Sehgal, CEO, Nexus Malls; Muhammed Ali, CEO, Forum Malls; Rajneesh Mahajan, CEO, Inorbit Malls and Shibu Phillips, Director, Shopping Malls, Lulu group. While on the brands side were Manish Kapoor, MD & CEO, Pepe Jeans; Rajesh Jain, MD & CEO, Sports & Leisure Apparel Ltd; Sanjeev Rao, CEO, Being Human Clothing; Sanjay Vakharia, CEO, Spykar Lifestyles; and Tushar Dhingra, Co-founder & CEO, Dhishoom Cinemas.

In his keynote address at the summit before the Mahasangram Session, David Macadam, CEO, Middle East Council of Shopping Centres (MECSC), International Council of Shopping Centres (ICSC), shared insights on the evolution of experiential retail and e-commerce. He discussed the challenges and opportunities within the retail industry, emphasizing the importance of adapting to consumer demands for experiential and sustainable shopping experiences. Macadam highlighted the significant role of AI and technology in retail, the impact of mixed-use developments, and strategies for business development. He advocated for embracing change, prioritizing customer experience, and leveraging strategic partnerships to navigate the retail landscape successfully.

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Day 2 of RLS 2024 also had a dedicated D2C segment that saw participation of leaders of top D2C brands namely, Dhiraj Agarwal, Founder, Campus Sutra; Sneh Jain, Managing Director, The Baker’s Dozen; Harsh Lal, Co-Founder, The Souled Store. A scintillating Fireside chat with Parul Gulati, Actor & Founder of Nish Hair (featured on Shark Tank India). This segment explored the unconventional strategies that has enable these brands to achieve immense success in a short frame of time.

Parallelly to RLS 2024 was an extensive session of ‘Retail Store Design’ that saw participation of top retailers and brands deliberating on topics such as ‘Future of Retail Design: Exploring Emerging Trends and Technologies’, ‘Balancing Design and Functionality in Retail Spaces’, a captivating Fireside Chat and  a Masterclass on ‘The art of curating memorable and meaning customer journey’.

The advisory board of RLS 2024 includes Anujj Puri, ANAROCK, Ashwin Khasgiwala, Reliance Retail Limited; Avjit Mitra, Croma, Infiniti Retail; Hari Menon, bigbasket; Johnson Verghese, Fossil India; Nissan Joseph, Metro Brands; Rajneesh Mahajan, Inorbit Mall; Sagar Daryani, Wow! Momo Foods; Venkatesalu P, Trent.

The first day of RLS 2024 came to a close with the grand felicitation of the crème de la crème of the retail industry with India’s Retail Champions Award 2024 and the Retail Start-up Awards 2024, both evaluated by eminent personalities from the industry as the Jury.

Winners of India’s Retail Champions Awards 2024 were:


Categories Name of the Company Name of the Brand
Apparel & Lifestyle The Souled Store The Souled Store
Apparel & Lifestyle Raymond Lifestyle Ethnix
Apparel & Lifestyle Spykar Lifestyle Pvt Ltd Spykar
Apparel & Lifestyle Brand Concepts Ltd BAGLINE, House of Luxury Bags
Beauty Himalaya Wellness Company Himalaya Wellness
Wellness Wellness Forever Wellness Forever
Wellness Apollo Pharmacy Limited Apollo Pharmacy
Consumer Durables & IT (CDIT) Vijay Sales (India) Private Limited Vijay Sales
Consumer Durables & IT (CDIT) Infiniti Retail Ltd Croma
D2C Cleardekho Eyewear Pvt Ltd ClearDekho
Department store Shoppers Stop Limited Shoppers Stop
Food & General Retail (Large format over 5,000 sq. ft) LULU Group International LULU HYPER MARKET
Food & General Retail (Small format below 5,000 sq. ft) Reliance Retail Limited Reliance Fresh Signature
Footwear Metro brands Ltd Footwear
Footwear Liberty shoes Ltd. Footwear
Home Decor / Home Improvement Godrej & Boyce Mfg Co Ltd Godrej Interio
Jewellery Reliance Jewels (Reliance Retail) Reliance Jewels
Restaurant & QSR Apsara Ice Creams LLP Apsara Ice Creams
Restaurant & QSR Dindigul Thalappakatti Dindigul Thalappakatti
Speciality Retail Ample Technologies Private Limited Monobrand Stoes of Apple, ASICS, UA and Bose. Apple Store brand name “Imagine”
Success Story of 2024 Trent Zudio