Cuba has opened a shop in Havana that could eventually operate as the Communist-ruled island's first wholesale store for the fledgling private sector, offering products in bulk at lower prices than in expensive retail outlets.
So far, Zona+, where produce is piled up to the ceiling like in a warehouse, is offering only a handful of goods in large quantities at slightly discounted rates. Shop employees said that was an experiment. They said the plan was for Zona+ to sell everything in bulk at a discount, catering in particular to the small businesses that have flourished since President Raul Castro started reforming the Soviet-style command economy.
Shoppers at Zona+ said it already had an advantage on other stores because it was uncharacteristically well-stocked. Cuba's supermarkets are often half-empty and supply problems look set to increase as the government said last week it would cut planned imports this year by 15 percent.
About the author
Research Associate at Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA) at Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University