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Chile's main retail market chains invest in Punta Arenas

Tuesday, April 17th 2007 - 21:00 UTC
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The Punta Arenas retail market in the extreme south of Chile has significantly grown in recent years, attracting Chile's leading retailers. Retail giants Lider, Fallabella, La Polar and Johnson's have opened branches in the southern Region XII city over the past three years, and saw profitable returns in 2006.

Since 2004, over 100 million US dollars has been invested in the Punta Arenas retail industry, despite the difficulties posed by the city's remote location. "We are the world's southernmost commercial pole," said Punta Arenas Mayor Juan Morano. Lider, one of Chile's leading retail chains, opened their first Punta Arenas branch in 2004, and recently opened a second smaller Lider Express store. Gastón Donoso, former manager of Lider Magallanes said "We went there because there was a market, not to give an image of a national presence". Donoso also commented on the difficulty of supplying the Punta Arenas stores. Restocking large stores in Punta Arenas is a challenge because of the city's remote location and the necessity of crossing though Argentina when transporting goods overland. Store managers in Punta Arenas must have great foresight when restocking supplies â€" orders must be placed approximately two weeks in advance. Transportation and supply issues, however, are not deterring other major retailers from following in Lider's footsteps. Horst Paulmann of Cencosud (Jumbo supermarkets) has recently shown interest in expanding to the southern city. "Punta Arenas is an interesting city for us, even though there are significantly higher logistical costs than other areas", said Cencosud's General Manager Laurence Golborne. By Laura Gillis The Santiago Times

Categories: Economy, Latin America.

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