In probably the biggest bit of economic liberation since Perestroika or Glasnost, we forget which was which, India has opened the subcontinent for business to the retail giants of the world, who are all slavering to get a slice of that fragrant pie, crammed as it is with a billion or so eager consumers. But, and there are several, in order to protect India’s 10million-odd small retailers, stores can only be set up in centres of more than a million souls (India has fifty such cities) and must put down at least $100million, half of that in the rural areas. And 50% of the investment should be in back-end infrastructure other than parking lots and stores, for e.g.: processing, manufacturing, distribution, design improvement, quality control, packaging, logistics, storage, warehouse and agriculture market produce infrastructure. Meet these condition, say the powers that be, and it’s a won-win-win.
Comment: Hence Shoprite’s renewed interest in that vast, ancient, mysterious, seething, oh shut up.