By Bruno Lannes, Wei Yu and Jason Ding, Bain

Yoghurt is flying off the shelves in China. The value of yoghurt sold in 2015 grew by more than 20 per cent. Meanwhile, instant noodles are suffering a slump. Consumers in China bought 12.5 per cent fewer containers of instant noodles in 2015 than they did a year earlier.

It seems that China’s market for fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) now operates at two distinct speeds: slow and fast.

The engine behind two-speed China is the government’s official “new normal” policy, which is managing GDP growth at 6.5 per cent to 7 per cent, shifting focus from manufacturing to services and consumption, and pushing for innovation-led growth over investment-led growth. Read more

Matthew Blake, World Economic Forum and Gloria M. Grandolini, World Bank

Maria owns a tiendita, a small local shop on a side of the road in Medellin, Colombia, where she sells various items, including local soft drinks. But some potential customers are unable to buy anything at this tiendita — Maria’s shop is a cash-only operation. This scenario is not unique to this store: it demonstrates the omnipresent role cash has across the globe.

We estimate that in 2015, global cash and cheque payments among micro, small, and medium-sized retailers (MSMRs) stood at $19tn, compared to total payments to MSMRs – including those from various types of card – of $34tn. The majority of these cash transactions happen in emerging markets.

This first estimate of the size of the cash-based economy reveals the prevalence of cash in the global economy and suggests the size of the opportunity for electronic payments, which include swiping a card or tapping a smartphone. To put $19tn into context, it is larger than the GDP of the United StatesRead more

By Ben Aris of bne in Moscow

Unless you live in Moscow and are in the retail business, you probably haven’t heard of Moskovsky Kreditni Bank (Credit Bank of Moscow, in English). But you may soon. A top-20 Russian bank, CBM is joining the increasingly long line of Russian companies that want to IPO on London’s stock exchange.

“We are contemplating an IPO, but have not decided on specific timing or plans,” CBM’s CEO, Vladimir Chubar, tells bne in an exclusive interview. “It depends on if the market improves, as the current valuation levels for Russian banks are not necessarily attractive. We are still growing, we have one of the lowest cost/income ratios and the return on equity of about 18-20% is one of the best in the sector. We feel like we are still quite a young bank and will wait for the right window of opportunity to open.” Read more

Don't worry, it's not happening

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), having assumed power in Delhi just last month, is starting to deliver on the populist promises in its manifesto. On Monday, its target was FDI in multibrand retail as it took advantage of the opt-out clause and rolled back approvals for the state.

For foreign investors, it makes India that bit less attractive. Read more

Majid Al Futtaim, the malls operator that brought an indoor ski slope to Dubai, is seeking to double revenues over the next five years by bringing Carrefour markets and mega-malls to more countries across the broader region.

Having expanded across 12 countries in the Middle East, North Africa and central Asia, the retailing giant is scouting four out of the 14 sub-Saharan African countries for which it holds Carrefour franchisee rights. Read more

The Mexican economy may have avoided falling into recession when it bounced back in the third quarter, growing slightly more than expected.

Yet, so far, there are few signs of a real improvement.

On Monday, the Auto Industry Association reported that the country’s light vehicle exports, which had been growing in low double-digit numbers, had returned to their sluggish performance of the second quarter. Read more

By Chris Webster of eBay

Parul Arora always knew her mother had immaculate taste in jewellery – taste so good it appealed to both her younger friends and an older generation at the same time. Together with her mother, she decided to go into business and started selling locally-sourced, handmade jewellery on eBay from their home in New Delhi.

In doing so, Parul tapped into what is evolving to be one of the most virile online marketplaces in the world. The Indian retail environment is going from strength to strength, and not just for local businesses – this is a two-way virtual high street. Read more

Russia: good footwear required

A Siberian retailer that began selling mid-priced shoes in Russian regions a decade ago is growing so fast that there is local talk of the company becoming “the Magnit of footwear”. Obuv Rossii now plans to go public offering investors a foot in the door to one of Russia’s most buoyant consumer sectors. Read more

The numbers are not head-turners, but the latest retail sales data out of Poland show the country continuing a steady, if unspectacular, economic revival – which means continued support for current low interest rates.

Retail sales in September grew by an annual 3.9 per cent, below analysts expectations of 4.7 per cent but still enough to show that the economy is rebounding from a sharp slump in the first half of the year. Read more

Skinny jeans and toasty, dry undergarments are still selling in emerging markets it seems.

Fast Retailing, the parent of Japanese cheap-chic clothing chain Uniqlo, on Thursday reported a 26.1 per cent jump in full year profits, as hipsters from China to South Korea flock to its stores. Read more

The influx of Chinese tourists has turned Hong Kong into the great mall of China. But demand for luxury watches, jewellery and handbags has sent retail rent prices soaring. For small businesses on the edge of the prime shopping areas, staying in business is becoming ever more difficult. Josh Noble reports

Is Poland’s sluggish economy on the road to recovery? There were further signs that it might be on Tuesday, as retail sales in June showed a bigger than expected expansion of 1.8 per cent compared with the same month last year, and unemployment continued to edge down. Read more

Internet, consumer goods and aspirational brands – they always crop up when folk in India discuss the growth of the economy. And a business that incorporates all three sounds like a recipe for success. claims to be the largest online fashion store in India – by revenues, by customers and by daily traffic – with 30 per cent market share. Read more

Polish retail sales grew in May according to figures released on Tuesday, in a sign that growth in the Polish economy is slowly accelerating. Sales were up 0.5 per cent year on year, above market expectations of a 0.1 per cent fall.

Households remain cautious about spending but the figure provides some grounds for optimism. Sales of pharmaceuticals and cosmetics grew by an annual 10.5 per cent, while sales of vehicles and durable goods increased by an annual 5.1 per cent and 7.5 per cent respectively. Read more

It’s hard to move in Egypt without being influenced by the Mansour Group – although most consumers wouldn’t know it. Whether you’re buying a phone, servicing your car, doing the week’s shop or eating at McDonalds, the Mansour Group is probably involved in the background.

Now its chairman is keen for the company to come out of the shadows. “We need to promote the Mansour Group as a global brand at some stage,” Mohamed Mansour tells beyondbrics. “It’s high time we had that kind of presence.” The question is how – and which parts of the Mansour Group of companies to emphasise. Read more

Ivica Todoric, the bullish owner of Agrokor, Croatia’s largest company, has, after many years of wooing, secured a majority stake in Mercator, Slovenia’s biggest retailer and largest employer.

Agrokor has announced that it has agreed with Mercator shareholders to take a 53.1 per cent stake in the company for €240m. The deal values Mercator at €120 per share, substantially below the €221 Agrokor reportedly offered last year. Read more

It may look like a belated internal housekeeping job, coming long after rivals did the same thing. But the Philippine SM Group’s announcement on Friday that it will combine its various real estate businesses with its shopping mall operations under one company is making a big splash.

Stock exchange trading for the group’s four publicly-listed vehicles was suspended to make way for the announcement of the creation of the country’s largest property company. Read more

French retail giant Carrefour has its sights set on sub-Saharan Africa’s booming consumer markets, and will begin setting up shop on the west coast of the continent within the next two years.

A joint venture between the supermarket retailer and the Africa-focused trading and distribution company CFAO – a subsidiary of Toyota Tsusho, the Toyota Group’s trading arm – announced on Thursday will open outlets across eight central and west African countries. Read more

Poland’s economy is slowing dramatically, driven lower in part by a sharp drop in retail spending. So what is the best response from concerned politicians? To put an end to Sunday shopping, of course.

That’s the gist of a new bill being considered by parliament that has gained support from across the political spectrum, from the right-wing Law and Justice party, through the centrist (and governing) Civic Platform, to the left-wing Palikot Movement. Read more

A contraction in Russian economic growth is taking a toll on consumer confidence. But while Russian shoppers are spending more carefully, it appears they can’t say ‘no’ to their kids. Detsky Mir, the country’s biggest children’s goods retailer, is anticipating a double-digit increase in revenues in 2013 for the second year in a row and is confident enough about the outlook to begin planning for an initial public offering. Read more