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Tunisian grocers offer chance to mitigate economic crisis

Small grocery shops are a lifeline for Tunisian communities and families and one entrepreneur sees them as agents of change to a cash-free economy.
FETHI BELAID/AFP via Getty Images

Attars are suburban Aladdin’s caves. Their shelves groan under every kind of canned and dried food and rainbow bottles of cleaning products. Their tills are circled with vats of olives in brine, fresh homemade harissa and piles of sticky pastries and chocolate. They sell cans of tuna bigger than one's head and single triangles of cheese or one cigarette to the desperate.

Such traditional retailers make up around 56% of Tunisia’s retail sector, according to market research company Euromonitor’s report from 2020. They’ve weathered competition from big supermarket chains to remain cornerstones of their communities.

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