ONE OF THE main barriers to sponsorship activation in India is the nation’s fragmented retail sector. Without established chains of multi-brand retail stores it is much more challenging to back up sponsorships with point-of-sale and on-pack promotions. As an example, technology brand LG recently flew 400 individual electrical retailers to a cricket competition in a bid to get them to stock their range of appliances. Now a couple of developments would suggest that things are changing with industry leaders showing themselves willing to work with international investors to consolidate and develop the sector. Thomas Varghese, chairman of the Confederation of Indian Industry's national committee on retail and chief executive officer of Aditya Birla Retail, was one of several voices at the India Retail Forum to call on the Indian government to allow greater access to FDI. The forum predicted foreign capital and expertise would be a game changer in the sector and pointed to similar developments in China and Brazil. Separately, Reliance Retail, part of India’s biggest listed company, has reported 20% like-for-like sales growth in its stores despite rising inflation and high interest rates.