Walmart has announced it plans to invest USD800m in Chile over the next three years, the latest in a series of financial commitments to its Latin American markets.
Confidence in future prospects
Walmart Chile's general manager, Horacio Barbeito, is convinced there are opportunities for Walmart in Chile. It will continue to focus on helping customers make the most efficient use of their budget.
Plans include new stores and remodels
Walmart plans to open 55-60 stores between 2017 and 2019. These will mainly be medium-sized formats like Express de Lider and SuperBodega aCuenta. Mr Barbeito said this type of store best meets Chilean shoppers' desire for a quick, comfortable shopping experience. Walmart will also remodel around 50 stores.
Transformation of Ekono
Walmart is transforming Ekono discount stores into convenience outlets, for example adding more perishable foods. The stores' low price focus will remain. These stores were previously caught in a gap between discount and convenience - lacking the breadth of range typical of a discount store and the fresh and mission focus required of a convenience store. This move should therefore help the format to develop a more distinct positioning in the market, as a value-oriented convenience store with a fresh focus - something few are doing well in Chile.
Innovation and e-commerce will play a part
Walmart has already launched its click and collect service Click & Retira. It wants to make the most of Latin America's growth in online retailing and make shopping easier for its customers. Its key rival Cencosud is already well progressed in this regard, with strong capability for its food and non-food (department store) operations.
Logistics improvements taking place
A distribution centre at El Peñón is under construction. Walmart is investing USD180m in this facility.