Spencers outlet in Kerala stoned

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The protests against organized retail in Kerala continued as demonstrators attempted to break into the newly opened outlet of RPG Spencers Retail in Kozhikode and stoned it.

The store was opened as the group’s ‘Hyper’ store in Kozhikode.

The protestors belonged to traders group and youth organizations affiliated to the left parties and 20 of them were taken into custody by the police who said the entire area where the store is located was shut down till noon.

Voicing his shock on the happenings, Ramesh Menon, Spencer’s senior vice-president, operations, said this is for the first time in 80 years that a Spencer’s store has faced attack in Kerala. “Spencer’s opened its shops in Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode in the 1920s and 1930s. These shops never had been a problem to small-scale retail trading here,” he said.

He said the group has been generating employment for the youth in direct and indirect manner. “In Kerala, we have 500 employees. We are providing indirect employment to many more. The Hyper store in Kozhikode itself would provide direct employment to 120 people,” said Ramesh.

Of late, owing to the rise in the number of protests faced by the organized retail sector, many local administrative bodies in Kerala, especially in the northern districts, have refused to issue a license to the companies.

However, Spencer’s plans to expand its business in the state and is willing to open 40-50 stores in Kerala. ‘In the last six months, we have been able to set up stores at a rate of 40 a month,’ Menon said.

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