Chennai, August 10, 2023: The penetration of modern retail in Indian Tier 2 & 3 cities has witnessed a significant upsurge, reflecting the growing consumer base and evolving shopping preferences. Thus, focussing on the need for flexibility and adaptability in the ever-evolving retail sector, Retailers Association of India (RAI) hosted the most awaited ‘Chennai Retail Summit 2023’ (CRS 2023) emphasising on ‘Adaptable Retail: Navigating Change in the Indian Retail Landscape’ on August 8, 2023 at the ITC Grand Chola Hotel, Chennai.

The summit explored strategies for effectively responding to market fluctuations, economic shifts, and emerging consumer demands. By focusing on this theme, CRS 2023 was aimed to equip retailers with the tools and insights to thrive, while continuing to meet the needs of their customers.

Speaking about the theme of the Chennai Retail Summit 2022 (CRS 2022), Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO, Retailers Association of India (RAI), said, “The evolving retail sector continues to fostering economic growth and job opportunities while catering to the evolving aspirations of consumers. The Tier 2 & 3 cities in India present a promising outlook for brands to expand their footprints across the vast landscape of India. While national brands can penetrate deeper into various regions of India, the regional brands have an opportunity to evolve and go beyond their local boundaries. To foster such exchange and knowledge sharing among brands and retailers, we organize regional summits like the Chennai Retail Summit. These summits provide a platform for fruitful discussions and collaborations.”

Key highlight of the summit was the signing of MoU Between FaMeTN and RAI to support MSME trades in Tamil Nadu. The MoU signing was followed by a special address by Grace Lalrindiki Pachuau, IAS, Additional Commissioner, ICDIC and Executive Director, FaMeTN.

Chief Guest of the Chennai Retail Summit 2023 (CSR 2023) Mr. C K Venkataraman, Managing Director, Titan delivered a keynote at CRS 2023. During his Keynote address he expressed, “Post pandemic, over 85 per cent of retail sales in the USA came from physical stores. This shows that people are happy to visit stores and shop. Even D2C brand stores have garnered a fair amount of business compared to online, showing that Brick and Mortar is here to stay.”

The audience were captivated by the insightful special addresses delivered by industry leaders such as Senthil Natarajan, Director, Kovai Pazhamudir Nilayam; A. B. S. Sanjjay, Managing Director, AVR Swarna Mahal Jewelry; and Venkada Subbu, Managing Director, Darling Residency Group of Hotels & Bakeries.

This edition of the Chennai Retail Summit 2023 (CRS 2023) encompassed various aspects of retail through invigorating discussions and sessions led by retail veterans, retailers, brands, and experts. The topics of discussions included:

§ Embracing Change: Strategies for Adapting to the Regional Retail Landscape

§ The Tech-Forward Retail: Harnessing Technology for Enhanced Retail Experiences

§ Breaking the Glass Ceiling: Advancement and Empowerment of Women Retailers

§ Understanding the Modern Shopper: Unveiling Motivations, Preferences, and Decision-Making Factors

§ The Best of Both Worlds: Balancing Advantages of Online with Physical Store Strengths

More than 40 retail stalwarts were sharing knowledge through these panel discussions like Balachandar R, Director, Junior Kuppanna; Balaji Chinnaswamy, CEO, VNH Naidu Hall Family Store; Balakrishnan GP G, Leadership Team, Super Saravana Stores; C K Kumaravel, CEO & Co-founder, Naturals Salon; Lavanya Pachisia, CEO, Zivame; Subhash Chandra L, Managing Director, Sangeetha Mobile; Sunil Sanklecha, Founder, Nuts n Spices; to name a few.

During the panel discussion on Embracing Change, Sunil Sanklecha, Founder, Nuts n Spices, said, “As a frontrunner in the market, our commitment to innovation has been spurred by the ever-evolving food habits of our customers.”

Subhash Chandra, Managing Director, Sangeetha Mobiles, added, “The deep discounted pricing by online competitors is no longer valid, and the momentum of online expansion has also decelerated. Nonetheless, as a conventional brick-and-mortar establishment, we are actively rectifying our online play. Our approach now includes pin-code based deliveries, resulting in over 80 percent of orders being fulfilled within a span of less than two hours.”

Lavanya Pachisia, CEO, Zivame, said, “There is a notable surge in individual interest, with conversations emerging around a formerly taboo category. This transformation is likely due to brands like ours, which tackle women’s challenges head-on and offer effective solutions. The COVID-19 pandemic acted as a catalyst for our online expansion, and currently, we are witnessing growth across multiple channels.”

Balakrishnan GP G, Leadership Team, Super Saravana Stores, “In the traditionally run businesses, change is seen as increase in risk by the owners, which is the bitter truth. The business owners need to take a close look at their actions and self-examine what they are doing. Technology helps us speed up processes, but we are struggle with marketing and must be more careful with spendings.”

Balaji Chinnaswamy, CEO, VNH Naidu Hall Family Store, said, “The consumer behaviour changes are multifaceted, covering various aspects like purchasing methods and trends, increased customer knowledge about what’s fashionable. Local retailers have an edge due to their personal connections with customers. As long as they understand how to meet local demands, they remain successful.”

The Chennai Retail Summit 2023 (CRS 2023) concluded with a gala felicitation ceremony of the Indian Retail Excellence Awards 2023 that recognised the stars of retail who have shone brightly despite all odds.

Over the years, ‘Chennai Retail Summit’ (CRS) has come to be known as the premier platform for retailers with business interests in South India to gain knowledge and network with peers, potential partners and industry leaders.