Retail: Two Sides of the Coin in the Region

During the fourth quarter of 2019, Walmart's sales increased year-on-year in all countries in the region, except in Costa Rica, where they fell because of the lower dynamism of local economic activity.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

The signs of recovery reported in the Costa Rican economy in the second half of 2019 do not seem to have been enough to boost retail trade, as one of the largest supermarket chains is registering a drop in sales.

See "Where are the consumers who spend the most?"

Guilherme Loureiro, CEO of Walmart de México y Centroamérica, told Elobservador.cr that "... In Central America, Nicaragua had the highest growth in sales to equal units, followed by Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. Sales performance in Costa Rica reflected the unfavorable macroeconomic dynamics of that country."

Walmart's data matches the survey "Encuesta Actualidades 2019", prepared by the University of Costa Rica (UCR), since its results confirm that during last year 29% of the households consulted stated that they restricted their spending, derived from the economic slowdown and the coming into force of new taxes.

You may be interested in "What are the characteristics of the consumer in Central America?"

Despite the drop in sales, Loureiro said that "... during 2019 they expanded the distribution center in Coyol, Costa Rica by more than 44,000 square meters. With this expansion, this distribution center has become the largest in Central America."

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More on this topic

Supermarkets: New $16 Million Investment

November 2019

The Walmart chain is investing in the construction of a new supermarket in Santa Ana, El Salvador, which will have a sales hall of 4,600 square meters.

According to information revealed by the company's directors, the new sales point, which is being built on a 15,000-square-meter site, will have a parking lot with capacity for 149 vehicles.

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.

Guatemala: Slight Rebound in Economic Activity

June 2016

Despite growing by 3.39% year on year in April, ending the downward trend seen in the growth rate, the commercial sector reported a weakening of sales.

A report by the Bank of Guatemala notes that   "...up to April 2016 economic activity, measured by estimating the IMAE, increased by 3.4% (3.0% in April 2015). This result was driven by the positive performance seen mainly in the following economic activities: Manufacturing Industries; Wholesale and Retail sales; Financial, intermediation, insurance  and auxiliary activities; private services; Transport, storage and communications; and supply of electricity and water collection. "

Walmart Announces $800 million Investment in Central America

March 2016

This year multinational plans to invest that amount in remodeling, maintenance, new units, electronic commerce, and logistics and distribution.

From a statement issued by Walmart of Mexico and Central America:

Mexico City, 10 March 2016.- In 2016 Walmart de Mexico and Central America will invest an estimated $14.700 million pesos ($866 million), 17% higher than the total amount invested last year.

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