Gigante in deal to open Petco stores in Mexico, Latin America

MEXICO CITY Thu Jan 24, 2013 7:35pm EST

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MEXICO CITY Jan 24 (Reuters) - Mexican supermarket and restaurant operator Gigante said on Thursday it entered a joint venture with U.S. pet product supplier Petco Animal Supplies to open at least 50 stores in Mexico and other Latin American countries over seven years.

No financial terms were disclosed. The first two Petco stores will open this year in Mexico City and Guadalajara, Gigante said in a release to the stock exchange.

Gigante will face tough competition from other local pet supply stores like +Kota, which has more than 100 stores in Mexico, mostly in or near the capital.

Gigante has been expanding outside its core supermarket operation in recent years, bringing in partners like office supplier Office Depot and Chinese food chain Panda Express to broaden its business portfolio.

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