Latin America: regional news review

Date : 26 January 2015

In this update, we look at developments from retailers across the region in the last quarter of 2014, including financial performance, expansion plans and management changes.

Management changes see retailers strengthen for new phase of growth

  • Daniel Rodríguez Cofré resigned as CEO of Chile's Cencosud in November. He joined FEMSA in January 2015 and is set to become the Mexican group's chief financial and corporate officer in April. His replacement at Cencosud is Jaime Soler Bottinelli
  • Walmex officially appointed Enrique Ostalé as president and CEO, after he had taken on the role as an interim measure when Scot Rank departed (and later joined Mexican dairy company Grupo Lala)
  • Walmart has announced changes designed to help its Chilean and Argentine businesses operate more efficiently: Gian Carlo Nucci is to retire as CEO of Walmart Chile in June. He will be replaced by Horacio Barbeito, current president and CEO of Walmart Argentina, who in turn will see Agustín Beccar Varela step into his shoes

Retailers report growth and reveal expansion plans

  • Walmart International grew net sales by 1.7% in the third quarter of Fiscal 2015. E-commerce was a highlight for the key markets of Brazil, Mexico and Central America. Walmex reported a 4.1% increase in consolidated sales for 2014, a year in which it opened 132 new stores
  • GPA plans to speed up its rate of expansion in 2015, increasing sales area by 6% and focusing on the north-east and mid-west of Brazil. Its multiformat structure and multichannel initiatives helped boost GPA's fourth quarter, when net sales increased across both food and non-food businesses
  • Carrefour said Brazil and Argentina had a "remarkable year" in 2014, ending with organic sales growth of 15.9% in the region for Q4
  • Chile-based Falabella reported consolidated revenues up 10.5% in Q3 and revealed plans to invest USD4.4bn over the period 2015-2018, over half of which will go on opening new stores and shopping centres
  • PriceSmart's net warehouse club sales were up 7.9% for the Q1 fiscal 2015 (ended 30 November). It opened its first store in Medellín, Colombia, in November
  • In contrast to others' wide expansion, Tottus general manager said the retailer was likely to open fewer new Peruvian stores in 2015
  • Mexican retailer Soriana is strengthening its presence with the acquisition of 160 stores from CCM. Find out more here

Acquisitions and divestments reshape markets

  • Colombia's Grupo Éxito strengthened its small-store business, opening 13 stores and receiving approval for the acquisition of regional chain Super Inter
  • In Argentina, La Anónima will initially retain the fascias of the Topsy and Bomba stores it is acquiring, developing its presence in the fast-growing western city of Neuquén
  • Speculation over who will acquire Comercial Mexicana has moved from Chedraui to Soriana
  • Walmex divested Banco Walmart to Grupo Financiero Inbursa

For more on Latin America

Catherine Ellwood is an analyst at IGD. She is primarily responsible for research into Latin American FMCG markets and retailers.