retail news in context, analysis with attitude

CityWire has an interesting story about how "retail behemoth Wal-Mart Stores may not admit it but retail experts don’t doubt there is already a team in Bentonville mulling the opportunities that may await just 90 miles off the south Florida coast.  Political action is still in the early stages with respect to relaxing U.S. travel restrictions to Cuba for U.S. tourists, the opportunities to open commerce with the island nation are openly discussed across multiple business sectors, including retail."

A number of retail experts and observers - including our old friend Ryan Matthews, CEO of Black Monk Consulting, and Dr. Raja Kali, professor of global economics at the University of Arkansas - tell the paper that the stars are aligning for Walmart to open stores in Cuba, where a poor population might find its "always low prices" approach to be highly attractive. At the same time, despite the fact that opening Cuba to US businesses is a political hot potato, it is suggested that Walmart would be a great billboard for democracy and capitalism that could have an enormous impact on how Cubans think and feel.
KC's View:
I've long felt that there are a ton of companies with their eyes on Cuba ... I wouldn't be surprised if companies like Marriott and Wynn, in addition to Walmart, not only have lust in their hearts, but also potential location addresses and even floor plans on their corporate hard drives. (Betcha there are some bribery funds being put away for a rainy day as well...)

The question isn't whether Cuba turns into Las Vegas once the walls come tumbling down. The question is how fast it will happen. (And can they avoid turning it into Atlantic City...)

Let's remember what Hyman Roth once told Michael Corleone:

Here we are, protected, free to make our profits without Kefauver, the goddamn Justice Department and the F.B.I. ninety miles away, in partnership with a friendly government. Ninety miles! It's nothing! Just one small step...