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Cencosud enters US retail market

The leading Latin American retailer enters the US market by purchasing The Fresh Market.
Wed 30/11/2022 by Nadia Venticinque
The acquisition enables Cencosud to enter a market with higher purchasing power.
The 2022 Investment Plan is focused on accelerating e-commerce to ensure the region’s best omnichannel.
The Fresh Market is a premium supermarket chain with a focus on high-quality fresh products.

On July 5, 2022, Cencosud entered the US retail sector when it acquired The Fresh Market, a purchase financed with its own resources and with a 12-month bank loan of US$300 million.

The Fresh Market is a premium specialty supermarket chain, with a focus on high-quality fresh products and on offering an outstanding and differentiated shopping experience. In 2021 and 2022, it was named among USA Today’s 10 Best Supermarkets in America. It has 160 stores in 22 US states, mainly in Florida, North Carolina (where its head office is located), Virginia and Georgia. The Fresh Market has over 10,000 employees and annual gross sales of more than US$1.9 billion.

So this acquisition is expected to strengthen Cencosud S.A, which now has access to a market with greater purchasing power than those of Latin America. The company also gets to operate in the strong US capital market and earn revenues in a powerful currency.

2021 ends positively for Cencosud S.A.

Last year was one of consolidation for the company’s e-commerce strategy, while new brands and formats were also created to meet customer needs. Work was also carried out to transform existing stores and to open new stores.

“We started a complex year with heavy restrictions in place due to the pandemic. Retail has been one of the sectors most affected by the health crisis and its consequences have driven significant transformations in the industry. Although the economic outlook for 2021 was more favourable than the previous year, palpable effects of this global health crisis still persist. The delays in logistics as well as the high costs of shipping and inputs have fueled global inflation. During all of this, Cencosud has continued to follow its strategic plan with a focus on improving the experience of our customers both online and in physical stores,” said Matías Videla, corporate general manager.

It was a year of growth and high profitability for the company, making it possible to lay the foundations for continued growth and financial strength. Income was up by 13% and adjusted EBITDA rose by 45.5% compared to 2020. The company’s strong financial performance led to the lowest level of leverage in a decade, with capital as of December 2021 reaching US$1.8 trillion.

The 2022 Investment Plan is focused on accelerating e-commerce to ensure the region’s best omnichannel. Around US$553 million have been allocated to CAPEX for the firm’s organic growth and its expansion of the digital ecosystem, and US$87 million for OPEX on innovation and adapting to new trends.

Key figures

  • Operations in Colombia, Peru, Chile, Brazil and Argentina
  • 116,214 employees (48.6% men; 51.4% women)
  • 16,870 suppliers
  • +20 million customers in the region
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