Mexico's Soriana aims to open 60 stores in 2013

MONTERREY Tue Jan 15, 2013 5:17pm EST

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MONTERREY Jan 15 (Reuters) - Mexico's second-biggest retailer Organizacion Soriana will open about 60 new stores this year, Chief Financial Officer Aurelio Adan said on Tuesday.

The supermarket chain last year opened 52 stores to end the year with about 609 stores in five different formats.

In an interview with Reuters, Adan said most of the new stores will be 'express' format since that was the store type that reported the best sales performance last year.

Soriana is focused on opening its own new stores rather than looking for acquisitions, Adan said.

"Although we're always assessing opportunities for acquisitions, we don't have anything in the pipeline and we prefer to focus on organic growth," he said.

In the first nine months of 2012, Soriana reported a 5.5 percent pickup in sales at stores open at least a year, compared to the same period a year earlier.

"We're very positive about this year, just like last year. I think that Mexico is ready to grow and generate more jobs," Adan said.

Mexico's Central Bank expects economic growth between 3 percent and 4 percent in 2013, similar to the 3.5 to 4 percent in 2012.

Separately, Soriana said on Monday that it will build a wind farm this year to provide energy to 163 Soriana stores. Adan said work will begin on the project in the middle of February.

The chain has received funding for the $130 million project from Mexican bank Grupo Financiero Banorte and the North American Development Bank.

Soriana expects to build a further five wind farms over the next three years, Adan said.

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