Bangladesh flag Bangladesh: Buying and Selling

The distribution network in Bangladesh

Evolution of the Sector
Bangladesh has experienced a fast economic growth over the past decade, with an average growth rate of over 6.2% per year. Bangladesh presents a great opportunity in its domestic market and global market too as a promised land. Over the past 15 years it has been witnessing a retail revolution and fast changing retail landscape. The organised retail industry is gradually inching its way forward to be the next most booming sector in Bangladesh like readymade garments; only if appropriate concerted strategies can be taken. The industry itself has expanded its growth over the past several years and organised retailing is undergoing a metamorphosis and expected to scale up over the next decade. Bangladesh has an un-doubtable depth of poverty, but has been one of the 'Next-Eleven tier' of developing economies keeping industrial development as priority. Modern 'superstores' are the next developing industry in the industrialisation of Bangladeshi cities.

The retail sector has traditionally been composed of small family and individual-operated businesses, but modern distribution channels (supermarkets) have emerged over the last ten years. Whilst daily grocery shopping remains very much the same as it has done for years, organised retail (present superstore format of retailing) is undergoing a period of near unprecedented expansion, something that is driving further demand, as well as creating opportunities for further enterprise. Retail stores in Bangladesh, irrespective of product line and price, have begun to appear in diverse shapes and sizes, with convenience stores, discount stores, department stores and superstores a recent phenomenon. Changing tastes and expectations have seen retail shopping move into the realms of being an experience, one where the shopper or visitor enjoys clean air-conditioned and secure surroundings, Some Middle-Class Bangladeshis, who are used to living in gated communities, prefer the new shopping experience at these superstores as they feel more familiar with the shopping style than they would be visiting overcrowded, open 'wet' markets for their everyday grocery shopping.

However, the retailing sector in Bangladesh is undeveloped, structurally weak and fragmented, compared to its South Asian counterparts. The rate of growth of retailing in Bangladesh over recent years was 7.0%. The sector made almost 15% contribution to the national GDP in 2016.
Market share

There is a wide variety of retail stores in Bangladesh, ranging from temporary outdoor stores to modern supermarkets.
Below is a classification by type of store:

  1. Independent grocery stores (about 75% of the market share - including village markets). No imported food products are available, with the exception of first-price products from India.
  2. Stalls of city markets (around 20% of market share), selling one type of product (fish, meat, vegetables, fruits, etc.). These stores usually exist in semi-urban and urban areas. Imported foods and processed foods are available but limited to those purchased by the middle class.
  3. Convenience stores (about 5% market share) located mainly in affluent urban areas, with a clientele made up of wealthy people and foreigners. The offer includes imported food products and high-end local products.
  4. Supermarkets: They entered the Bengali consumer market in the early 2000s. There are about 200 supermarkets, with the first ones opening more than ten years ago. Major supermarkets include Agora, Meena Bazar, Nandan, PQS, Shwapno, Kulshi Mart, etc.
Retail Sector Organisations
Foreign Investor Chamber of Commerce and Industry
The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry
Ministry of Commerce Bangladesh

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Latest Update: April 2024