The Indian retail market has grown at a double-digit compound annual growth rate over the last five years and was worth an estimated $554bn in 2011. The Indian economy grew throughout the global downturn, with increasing consumer purchasing power bolstering the retail sector. Retailing is now the second highest contributor to India’s gross domestic product.
Confusion reigns over India's FDI policy. Currently international food and grocery retailers are prohibited from entering the Indian market, except through cash and carry wholesale trading, but the government announced plans to lift restrictions in 2011, but then committed an embarrassing u-turn just weeks later.
The emergence of modern retail started in the major cities of Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore, and the satellite towns which have developed around them due to the huge influx of young professionals. Modern retail is concentrated in just a few cities, and premium locations there have already become saturated.
Employing 8% of the total work force, retail is the second largest employer in the country. The majority of these workers are self-employed, as India has a huge base of traditional retail outlets which are often family-owned. At present, modern retail represents only 5–7% of total retail in India.