Retail Wars Come to India as Supermarkets Threaten Mom-and-Pops

Retail Wars Come to India as Supermarkets Threaten Mom-and-Pops

PUNE, India -- In his tiny, dimly lit grocery shop, Babulal Borana stands behind a counter topped with grimy plastic bottles of sweets, and surrounded by loose sacks of rice, lentils, and spices.

He lights a sweet-smelling incense stick in front of a deity of Laxmi, the Indian goddess of wealth, praying feverishly for the survival of his business.

Housed in a decrepit building, Borana's shop has been doing brisk business for over 20 years. But eight months ago, a dazzlingly lit, air conditioned supermarket -- run by Reliance, an Indian business giant -- was erected just a few yards from his shop. Gargantuan in size, it has been weaning away Borana's customers, shrinking his earnings by half.

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