Keynote Address – Bijou Kurien @ KRS 2014


South India is incredibly diverse – be it language, culture, food or clothing. The four southern states have 25% of the country’s population, but 30% of its retail turnover. They are more literate and have higher levels of per capita income. Consequently South India is a very attractive market as far as retail is concerned.

Bijou Kurien

 Some of the salient points about South India as a retail market are:

  •  The South is the home of organized retail – and has built vibrant brands ranging back to the 1940’s.
  • Entrepreneurs in the South are not risk averse – contrary to popular stereotype.
  • Once they have found a robust business model, they are willing to scale – for example – textile,  apparel, jewelry retailers have built large (>50,000 sq. feet) single category showrooms, and have invested in marketing, technology and people.
  • South India has built strong vibrant brands.
  • Malls recognize that they need local and regional Southern brands as much as they need their national counterparts.
  • The South has several retail “firsts” to its credit – the first electronics chain (VGP / Viveks) , largest jewelry chain, Large international sari brands (Nallis)
  • Brands built in the South are consistent when they go national –

    whether its Nallis in Delhi or Kalyan Jewellers in Ahmedabad.

Bijou Kurien

South India is the home of retail capabilities in India & has created the modern retail movement in this country. It has the wherewithal to accommodate new channels, new customers and the aspirations of the next generation of family entrepreneurs. It is the time for other South based brands to think and plan national.



(Bijou Kurien was the keynote speaker at the Kongu Retail Summit, Coimbatore held on 18th March 2014)

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Bijou Kurien

Bijou Kurien

Bijou has been associated with marquee brands in the fast moving consumer products, consumer durables and retail industry in India for over 32 years. His association with the development of Indian retail is over 25 years. After earning his spurs at Hindustan Unilever Ltd., he joined the founding team at Titan Industries, where he helped build powerful brands in the Watch and Jewellery Industry like Titan, Fastrack, Sonata, Tanishq etc and also create India’s largest exclusive brand retail chains. In his stint with Reliance Retail, he was at the forefront of one of the most ambitious retail ventures ever which dramatically transformed the Indian retail landscape. Bijou is a prolific speaker on behavioral insights and retail. He has been associated with the IRF & RAI and has significantly contributed to its development. In addition, he has also been associated with the World Retail Congress since its inception as a speaker, member of its Advisory board as well as the Grand Jury for selection of the World Retail award winners. In addition to retail industry fora, he is the Chairman of the FICCI Retail Committee, member of the Advisory Council of the RAI, member of the National Retail committee CII, and Governing boards of various academic institutions. He has also received several acknowledgements as Retail CEO of the Year (2013) by ET Now, Asia Pacific Retail Leader of the Year (2012) by the World Retail Congress etc.
Bijou Kurien

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