By: Roy Silva
Recognizing the needs of the industry, Sri Lanka Retailers’ Association (SLRA) is planning to launch a retail institute which will create widespread opportunity for youth to enter the vibrant retail industry with professional qualifications. The SLRA is currently in the process of seeking out state/non-state accredited institutes to partner this initiative and further formalize training models.
The Retail Academy has been in operation since 2017, conducting training courses and workshops during its operation thus far. This year, along with the envisaged inauguration of the institute, SLRA will have an official launch of its Retail Academy. The Retail Academy will seek to fulfill the industry’s labour shortage, by creating an image of retail as a preferred industry for employment.
“Not only will it increase labour supply, the goal of the Retail Academy is to make professionals the norm and not the exception in our trade,” said Sidath Kodikara, Executive Director at Cargills (Ceylon) PLC and President of the SLRA.
With Sri Lankan retail evolving into a technology-based industry, upskilling of labour is seen as vital to implement this transformation. Moreover, the value addition in labour is likely to attract more young professionals to join a lucrative career in retail.
This year’s outlook for retail will see many facets of change which will play an important role in the development of the country. Organized retail will slowly increase its presence and penetration. Appearance of more retail global brands will also continue with the rise of higher end malls.
There is increased potential for mobile-centric e-commerce strategies to engage with consumers, and advancement in automation, data analytics and e-commerce is set to further improve and enhance consumer experience. In this back drop of change, growth and challenges, the SLRA aims to play an influential role in synergizing the efforts of all retailers and partners to develop this industry in an inclusive manner.
SLRA’s membership currently comprises 30+ local retail giants across 9 retail sectors consisting of FMCG; Clothing, Fashion & Jewelry; Shelter & Housing; Household & Consumer Durables; Footwear & Accessories; E-Commerce; Mobility; Entertainment, Restaurants & QSR; and Healthcare & Wellness, with hopes of seeing its membership increase further this year.
The purpose of this organized body for retail is to tap into one of Sri Lanka’s highest contributing industries to economic and social development, by providing a forum where retailers can work together to improve standards of retailing in an inclusive manner, improve consumer experience and service in all facets of retailing, and aim to facilitate the growth of the retail industry through innovation and sharing of global best practices. Corporates of the Retail industry are invited to join the membership of SLRA.