Cuba: How soon an opportunity for U.S. retailers?

Without veering into political comment, surely one of the biggest news stories in recent months is the more open relationship between the U.S. and Cuba. It’s interesting to reflect (as in the following RetailWire comment) on what this means for American marketers:

The chance for American retailers and brands to capture market share in Cuba depends on its residents improving their standard of living in a dramatic fashion. Low take-home pay and other standards of living make it hard to imagine a thriving trade in discretionary goods anytime soon. Last week’s policy moves open the door just a bit, but real progress is going to take years.

Frankly, it’s going to take a regime change committed to economic development even under the umbrella of a so-called “Communist” regime — similar to what has happened in China over the past 40 years — before you start finding a branch of the Gap on the Malecon.

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