Organised retail, which is growing at 30 per cent annually on strong income growth and favourable government policies, is expected to create up to 20 lakh jobs in the next two years, says a study.
"The unprecedented growth in the sector would translate into local employment opportunities for millions and would offer lucrative pay packages with 20 per cent organised retail employees expected to become tax payers," as per the business intelligence team of executive search firm Elixir Web Solutions.
Interestingly, the study reveals that more than 50 per cent of workforce in the modern-day retail set-ups are expected to be women.
India, ranked the fifth largest retail destination globally, at present employs more than 21 million people in organised and unorganised retail and contributes to 13 per cent of the country's GDP.
The retail industry in the country, valued at about $300 billion, is expected to grow to $427 billion by 2010 and will become the second largest employer after agriculture.
"After leading the IT bandwagon, India is poised to grow as a retail hub," the study marked.
But, after global biggies like Wal-Mart making their entry into the country, a major concern for domestic retailers would be to maintain their unique selling preposition in terms of service standards as products can be easily replicated.
"Product and value differentiation is short-lived as it can be replicated quickly, the real challenge for CEOs of retail majors is maintaining quality service standards and hence they have to prepare their executives accordingly," the study said.
The sector is going to see more competition and avenues with domestic corporates like Rahejas, ITC, Bombay Dyeing, Murugappas and Piramal Group, apart from foreign investors and private equity players looking for investment opportunities in retail.
Biggies like Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance and Kishore Biyani's Big Bazaar are already present in the field.
The growth in organised retail industry is being fuelled by the increasing spending power of young generation, rise in standard of living and increasing working women population, the study said.
However, the sector faces challenges such as escalating real estate costs, scarcity of skilled workforce and saturated supply of merchandise.
The organised retail industry will slow down to single digit growth after five or six years unless the industry brings in an innovative approach, Crisil had cautioned.
"In spite of the prospects being good, things aren't quite rosy in terms of technological applications, with most retailers using the barest minimum installed solutions," the study said.
The future is expected to be different in terms of technological awareness and usage as it would create great business opportunities for software an hardware vendors across the globe.