Costa Rica: More Supermarkets in Tourist Areas

The growing influx of tourists in Guanacaste is one of the factors that is encouraging supermarket chains to increase the number of branches in the province.

Monday, February 20, 2017

The growing influx of international tourists to beaches in Guanacaste has increased the attractiveness of the province for the commercial sector, particularly supermarkets. According to, "...Super Compro (owned by Gessa) has 23 stores in Guanacaste, which makes it the chain with the most stores in the province, followed by Palí (Walmart) with 13 and Megasuper with 7."

The Walmart chain recently announced it will be building a new supermarket in Liberia. "...Mariela Pacheco, coordinator of Corporate Affairs for the company, said that Guanacaste is an area with a large amount of tourism development, which has recently benefited from the expansion of the Cañas-Liberia route, facilitating entry."

Walter Wesphal, general manager of Gessa, "... explained that the steady stream of tourists captured the attention of chain stores, but he stressed that tourist areas are already showing signs of saturation. The business group is also operating a supermarket with the Peri format in Liberia and now plans to expand its number of branches but in areas with low concentration of competitors."

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New Attempt to Sell Supermarket Chain

December 2019

Almost a year after Walmart's application to acquire Grupo Gessa's supermarket chain in Costa Rica was denied, a new agreement is now announced between Grupo Gessa and Grupo Empresarial de Retail S.A.

In January of this year, it was reported that local authorities ratified their ruling against Walmart's request to buy supermarket chain Gessa, arguing that the transaction presented problems of eventual concentration.

Supermarket Chain Purchase Stopped

December 2018

Arguing that there are risks that the economic agent will affect market prices, in Costa Rica the Commission for the Promotion of Competition denied Walmart the request to purchase the supermarket group Gessa.

Representatives of the Commission for the Promotion of Competition (Coprocom) informed that the decision was taken unanimously on December 4th and the parties were notified the following day.

Offensive Against a Giant

August 2018

In Costa Rica a group of cooperatives, associations and companies are considering to present a purchase offer for the supermarket chain Gessa, in order to try to stop Walmart from making the acquisition. announced that a group of companies, cooperatives and associations, led by the National Chamber of Social Solidarity Economy, is working on a proposal to present to the owners of Grupo Empresarial de Supermercados (Gessa). At the end of last month, Walmart announced that it had filed with the Commission for the Promotion of Competition (Coprocom), a proposal to acquire the supermarket chains Perimercados, Súper Compro and the Saretto store, which currently belong to Gessa.

18 New Supermarkets in Costa Rica During 2010

April 2010

Automercado, Walmart and Gessa are expected to open 18 new supermarkets in 2010, worth a combined investment of $20 million.

Walmart will add ten new locations to its network, using its Pali and Maxi Bodega Brands, while Automercado will open two and Gessa six under its Perimercados and Super Compro brands.

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