Australian entrepreneur, Gerry Harvey, once said this about retailing: “Basically we get confused a bit about what retail is. It is really just buying things, putting them on a floor and selling them.” Now there are countless retailers who sell their goods. In a country like India, where the population and economy are growing, the retail business is a booming one, and there are a number of retail formats.

Mom-and-pop Stores

These are small family-owned businesses, which sell a small collection of goods to the customers. They are individually run and cater to small sections of the society. These stores are known for their high standards of customer service.

Department stores

Department stores are general merchandisers. They offer to the customers mid- to high-quality products. Though they sell general goods, some department stores sell only a select line of products. Examples in India would include stores like "Westside" and "Lifestyle"--popular department stores.

Category Killers

Specialty stores are called category killers. Category killers are specialized in their fields and offer one category of products. Most popular examples of category killers include electronic stores like Best Buy and sports accessories stores like Sports Authority.



mega mall window image by Pavel Losevsky from <a href=''></a>

One of the most popular and most visited retail formats in India is the mall. These are the largest retail format in India. Malls provide everything that a person wants to buy, all under one roof. From clothes and accessories to food or cinemas, malls provide all of this, and more. Examples include Spencers Plaza in Chennai, India, or the Forum Mall in Bangalore.

Discount Stores


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Discount stores are those that offer their products at a discount, that is, at a lesser rate than the maximum retail price. This is mainly done when there is additional stock left over towards the end of any season. Discount stores sell their goods at a reduced rate with an aim of drawing bargain shoppers.


One of the other popular retail formats in India is the supermarkets. A supermarket is a grocery store that sells food and household goods. They are large, most often self-service and offer a huge variety of products. People head to supermarkets when they need to stock up on groceries and other items. They provide products for reasonable prices, and of mid to high quality.

Street vendors

Street vendors, or hawkers who sell goods on the streets, are quite popular in India. Through shouting out their wares, they draw the attention of customers. Street vendors are found in almost every city in India, and the business capital of Mumbai has a number of shopping areas comprised solely of street vendors. These hawkers sell not just clothes and accessories, but also local food.


Similar to supermarkets, hypermarkets in India are a combination of supermarket and department store. These are large retailers that provide all kinds of groceries and general goods. Saravana Stores in Chennai, Big Bazaar and Reliance Fresh are hypermarkets that draw enormous crowds.


Kiosks are box-like shops, which sell small and inexpensive items like cigarettes, toffees, newspapers and magazines, water packets and sometimes, tea and coffee. These are most commonly found on every street in a city, and cater primarily to local residents.