The first part of this paper deals with the complexities associated with definition of FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Good) retail outlets and their classification in India. It outlines the changes in outlet type and stocking patterns over time and elaborates on the methodology used for efficient stratification. The results are based on retail census studies conducted periodically by Operations Research Group, the latest being, CORE 95 (Census On Retail Environment 95). In the second part of this paper the authors suggest a model building exercise to capture the dynamics in the retailing universe. The proposed model will help to predict the rate of growth of retail outlets, for various outlet types and turnover categories. The model facilitates the updating of the universe even at the monthly level. This in turn would mean more accurate and meaningful off take estimates.