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Diwali gives Indian e-retailers reason to celebrate

Outlook is gloomier for offline shops struggling with country's new tax system

Customers shop for lanterns at a roadside Diwali market in Mumbai, October 2014.   © Reuters

NEW DELHI/MUMBAI With India's biggest festival, Diwali, just around the corner, the country's e-commerce sites have been letting the discounts flow. Homegrown Flipkart and global giant Amazon, the two market leaders, say they are ringing up strong sales and pulling in new customers from smaller cities and remote towns thanks to the spread of affordable smartphones.

But for India's traditional retailers, many of whom are not yet online, weak sales and trouble with the country's new goods and services tax have cast a pall over this year's festivities.

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