The beginning to the end of Kirana?

I have always presented the Indian Kirana Stores story differently. Read about it here and here. I mean, I've never been a fan of the kirana and also believe they survive solely on the 'emergency purchase-convenience' reason. At least that's true for the Indian 'mobile' middle class that can access an organised format retail store on the weekend for a week's purchase.

Its important to know the simple-straightforward reasons behind the Indian lower middle class' retail store patronage. They go where the prices are low and the produce and variety is good. That's it. No more. Atmospherics can go to hell. Else they wouldn't be queuing up in the maddeningly loud and cramped Big Bazaars in India.

And now something else is egging them even more to go to the Big Bazaars of India, in the process abandoning totally the neighbourhood Kirana. Food inflation. ET reports, 'Shalini Sharma, a New Delhi-based homemaker, has started visiting large food retail stores for buying fruit and vegetables. Reason: rising vegetable prices and exorbitant rates charged by local vendors. She often goes to the nearby Safal store run by Mother Dairy and saves up to 20% on the total bill. Like Shalini, many residing in metros and large cities have started flocking to these outlets as high prices of vegetable and agricultural produce over the last few weeks have started taking a toll on their household budget. “Walking down to the Safal store is inconvenient due to the chilly weather these days. But it's worth braving cold winds because I buy in bulk and save up to 20-25 %,” Sharma said. Food retail chains such as Future group’s Food Bazaar, Safal and Reliance Fresh are selling fruit and vegetables up to 40% cheaper than the local vendors, as they manage to source products from farmers and wholesalers at lower prices due to economies of scale and easy availability of credit.'

So is this end of the Kirana Store in India? Of course, not! The beginning to the end? Maybe.


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