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Guarded outlook for Mexican retail in 2019

The Mexican retail sector registered a sluggish year in 2018, posting same-store sales growth of just 0.1% and all-stores growth of 3.5% for the year, according to the National Retailers Association (ANTAD).  Retail performance showed deceleration at year-end, posting the slowest fourth quarter expansion since 2014.  On the plus side, sales during Mexico’s four-day “Buen Fin “ (Black Friday) promotion in 2018 grew 8% with respect to the previous year, the national chambers of commerce, services and tourism (Concanaco Servytur) reported.  On-line sales during the promotion jumped 50% for the same period, demonstrating ongoing advances in consumers’ shift to shopping on line.

ANTAD is adopting a cautious outlook for 2019, projecting a 2.2% increase in all-stores sales but a contraction of 1% in same-store sales for the current year.  The growth of electronic commerce remains a leading trend for the industry, with Mexico striving to exceed US$20 billion in on-line sales for the year with the hope of surpassing Brazil as Latin America’s top e-commerce market.  Industry analysts project that policies proposed by the new Mexican administration could provide a boost to retail.   These include monthly stipend programs for qualifying members of segments such as youth, elderly and the disabled, as well as a 16% increase in the minimum wage.  Bodega Aurrerá is expected to benefit in particular from these measures across its formats.  Also, the new government reduced the VAT tax in the northern zone along the U.S. border to 8% from 16%, which is expected to provide a sales bump to store chains well established in the area such as Soriana, Walmart, Casa Ley, HEB and Super Norte.

Roma and Colonia Roma

Yesterday we received multiple emails from friends and colleagues outside of Mexico raving about the new Alfonso Cuarón film Roma and asking if we had seen it.  We have not seen the film, but we watched the trailer on YouTube and were duly impressed by the beautiful black and white photography.  This is not a movie review though; the flicks are not our forte but we noticed that the write-ups all mention that the film depicts Mr. Cuarón’s childhood memories of growing up in Mexico City’s Roma neighborhood, or Colonia Roma as it is called officially.  We did not spend our childhood in Colonia Roma as Mr. Cuarón did but from our late teenage years on the neighborhood has served as the closest thing to a hometown as we have had.  Our early memories of Mexico City streets as they were 40 years ago are now packed away in the recesses of the mind, which is why the depictions of the Roma of Cuarón’s youth trigger such a stunning and unexpected flood of recognition. Continue reading Roma and Colonia Roma

Mexican retail chains hot for omnichannel

Mexican consumers have been much slower to embrace the on-line shopping wave compared to elsewhere in North America, with low credit card penetration and fear of fraud, among other factors, holding back the e-commerce revolution.  On-line shopping portals launched fairly early on in Mexico, but only recently do the major brick-and-mortar retailing chains seem to be fully embracing the wave of the future, and growth is coming fast.  Mexico’s e-commerce market is among the top two in Latin America with US$17.6 billion in sales in 2016 and averaging 45% annual growth from 2010 to 2016, according to data provided by the Mexican On-Line Sales Association (AMVO).  Nonetheless, e-commerce in Mexico still represents only some 2% of all retail sales, compared to nearly 10% in the United States.  Recognizing the fast pace and overall potential for growth, retailers are taking measures to take advantage, and it seems like all of a sudden omnichannel marketing is all the rage. Continue reading Mexican retail chains hot for omnichannel