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The Retailers Association of India (RAI) and the Mudra Institute of Communications, Ahmedabad (MICA), have come together to launch a six-month course in visual merchandising.The Professional Programme in Visual Merchandising & Creative Communication is described as the first of its kind in the country.Visual Merchandising is defined as the persuasion to buy through presentation of merchandise. It is said to be effective when the customer is educated about the product displayed and drawn to buy it. The phenomenon of transformed visual presentation or displays of merchandise with relevant thematic props is in its nascent stage in India, said Gibson G Vedamani, CEO, RAI, in a statement. The course would help participants learn, through hands-on experience, to design and draft a rendering of a display, build necessary props and accessories and carry the project through to completion, said Atul Tandan, director, MICA.Graduates in the programme would leave with a portfolio of drawings and photographs of projects executed and would be prepared for an entry-level position in department stores, specialty stores and boutiques as visual merchandisers, window trimmers and freelance artists.The full-time programme is scheduled to start on July 20. Students with a bachelor's degree with a preferred work experience of two years would be eligible to join the programme. STAFF REPORTER