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EMAC 2021 Annual Conference

Understanding the Performance of Unorganized Retail in India Under Normative and Pandemic Scenarios Using an Agent Based Simulation Approach

Published: May 25, 2021


Suman Kumar, Tata Consultancy Services; Siddhartha Sarkar, Tata Consultancy Services; Jayasree Raveendran, Tata Consultancy Services; Vivek Balaraman, Tata Consultancy Services


Unorganized retail forms a significant thread in the socio-economic fabric of India. Called Kirana Stores, they have an outsized share of retail in the food and general product categories. While prominent, they also face hurdles in terms of access to credit, working capital constraints, and competition from organized retail. These challenges were further exacerbated due to the national COVID-19 related lockdown. Against this backdrop, we use agent based modelling and simulation to study the operations of Kirana stores and their ecosystem during both normal times and during a pandemic like circumstance. The aim is to understand the differences in operational factors and decisions that lead to optimal performance under different circumstances. We use simulation outcomes to elicit implications for the product mix and credit options which lead to optimal performance and identify effective strategies for better resilience during a pandemic scenario.