Express Boom Rapidly Changing Buenos Aires Supermarket Landscape

Patrick Archer buenos aires events, competitiveness, foreign investment, franchises, real estate, us companies

Hundreds of Asian-owned Buenos Aires supermarkets are closing now that multinational giants like Carrefour and Walmart are blanketing BA barrios with their own “express” markets.

Around 400 super chinos closed last year alone and 1,100 jobs disappeared. The expansion of the large chains under the express model siphoned off a lot of our customers which hurt the profitability of our business,” says the Director of the Federation of Asian Supermarkets in an interview with iProfesional’s Patricio Eleisegui.

Eleisegui describes the growth of Carrefour and Walmart Express locations as “exponential” noting that 75 of every 100 new grocery store openings in Buenos Aires are express locations. Carrefour says it will open 80 new express units in Buenos Aires this year alone while launching a pilot program in the northern suburbs.

Similarly, Walmart’s entry in the express arena is growing rapidly with 105 locations bearing the name Changomas or Changomas Express, while Spanish chain Dia has reached over 500 locations using an aggressive franchise model.

The competition is prompting some Asian grocery owners to tweak their business models and begin offering both prepared meals (comida al paso) and buffet style take-out priced by weight (comida por peso). Still other Asian business owners are getting out of the grocery game altogether and investing in agribusiness and hotels, writes Eleisegui. (Full Story in Spanish)

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