Walmex (Walmart Mexico) has introduced a new pricing initiative called “Los Esenciales” (The Essentials), which sees 125 essential items sold at their lowest possible prices in order to support the Mexican population during the COVID—19 pandemic.
This promotion will feature in all Walmex’s Bodega Aurrera discount banners, which account for more than 2,000 stores across the country. Items will be priced between MXN3.50 and MXN49 (¢15 to US$2) and will be kept at a fixed price for 60 days between April 10 and June 10. Products included in the offer cover food, hygiene, and household/cleaning products, across both privately owned and commercial brands.
“Bodega Aurrera has always been an ally of Mexicans in difficult times. Now more than ever, we are working to create initiatives such as ‘Los Esenciales’, with the commitment to support the economy of Mexican families and thus continue to contribute to improving their quality of life." Lilia Jaime, Senior Vice President of Bodega Aurrera.
Source: Bodega Aurrera website
Could this place further pressure on traditional retailers?
Whilst this initiative will undoubtedly support many Mexican consumers who are financially affected by the lockdown, it is likely to put additional pressure on traditional markets, family run supermarkets and mom-and-pop stores. Enrique Álvarez, president of Mexico’s Frente de Comerciantes (Merchants Front) believes that the move is monopolistic and promotes unfair competition.
“It is embarrassingly promoting that Bodega Aurrerá offers products from the basic basket, which indicates a monopolistic practice that guarantees that large entrepreneurs continue to have the benefit of the price at their whim…[traditional] markets are selling an orange for 10 pesos when Walmart is already at five pesos, which will cause an induced concentration, "
Walmex maintains its exponential growth of its Bodega Aurrera banner
Walmex opened 134 stores in 2019, its largest number of annual openings since 2014. Of these openings, 125 were under the Bodega Aurrera banner. Its aggressive expansion, particularly of the smaller Bodega Express banner, has allowed Walmex to open in smaller neighbourhoods, reaching more Mexican families.
In 2019 it celebrated opening its 2,000th store. Speaking of this milestone at the time, Lilia Jaime said; "Opening more than 2,000 units in Mexico fills us with pride and reaffirms our commitment to continue offering the best prices in search of the welfare of Mexicans, the development of the country and the generation of jobs."
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