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Prof. K. R. Subramanian

There has been a tremendous amount of literature and discussion on retail formats and present concern seems to be the viability of various formats, particularly in the Indian context. Whereas the idea of retailing has caught up the fancy of corporate investors including some of the big names in the Indian corporate world, and many of them have diversified, integrated and changed various operating parameters with respect to improving the service efficiency and quality, the main question remains as to the profitable operating format, size and display characteristics. Transferring and applying manufacturing principles and practices to improve both service efficiency and service quality is an important area of research in service operations. Research work advances this stream of research by examining the compatibility of operating efficiency and service quality. Specifically, our research paper addresses the following questions: Do operating efficiency and service quality have to be traded off, or can they exist in unison (are they compatible) What aspects of service quality have a stronger association with operating efficiency? How synergies from a combination of retail formats can be used to optimize profitability of retail operations? Overall, our analyses suggest important strategic decision-making implications for service operations managers and provide novel insights for academic research. Whereas the operating margins and profits have not given any incentive for promoters to invest in organized retail business, the Indian retailers have been on the lookout for a successful formula for increasing margins and profits. The future of Indian retailing will hinge on finding a suitable answer by any means: Be it a joint venture or cooperative effort; or an integrated effort with the participation of multiple retailers under one roof and making use of synergies and cost efficiencies to improve bottom lines – which incidentally is the most important concern of organized retail industry. The future of Indian retailing in the organized formats is still a question mark; but as the industry goes through the evolutionary process we need to wait and see what the future holds for this upcoming industry as it is promising for employment opportunity! Developments in social centric marketing techniques and social networking will have a profound influence