Kiranas are Biggest Competitors to Walmart and Amazon in India?

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Tiny stores known as kiranas dot every Indian street, village and slum. Usually family-run, these micro-businesses range from street vendors selling vegetables to shops the size of a one-car garage. They pay low wages and have little or no rent, which helps keep costs down. And since they cater largely to neighborhood populations, many offer instant delivery, interest-free credit and other personalized services that the global giants are unable or unwilling to provide.

“The kirana store has better economics than a supermarket,” said Rajiv Lal, a professor of retailing at Harvard University. “There is no way to beat them.”

Small retailers control close to 90% of the country’s more than $700 billion retail market, according to Indian retail consultancy Technopak.

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