By Anthony Esposito
SANTIAGO Jan 25 Chilean retailer Falabella is
looking at options to grow more aggressively in the region,
including the possibility of mergers and acquisitions,
vice-president Carlo Solari told Reuters on Friday.
Falabella plans to invest $3.923 billion from 2013 to 2017
to double the number of stores and shopping malls it operates in
Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Peru.
"Obviously we're looking at organic and non-organic
opportunities to grow," Solari said on the sidelines of the
Community of Latin American and Caribbean States and European
Union business summit. He declined to elaborate on the details
of these opportunities.
Chilean retailers, such as Falabella and Cencosud, have been
flexing their muscles across Latin America as domestic demand
booms in much of the region.
Solari said he is confident that strong regional economic
growth, low unemployment and rising wages will fuel consumption,
something which will ultimately boost sales this year.
"The economy is doing really well, there are jobs throughout
the region and real wages are rising, which impacts positively
on consumption. In our case there are several countries where
there's a lot of potential to grow," he said.
Falabella's sales grew 16.5 percent to 4.197 trillion pesos,
or $8.92 billion, in the January to September 2012 period versus
the same period a year ago. Solari declined to give an estimate
for sales growth in 2013.
The economies of Latin America and the Caribbean will likely
grow by a collective 3.8 percent in 2013, less than previously
forecast, as slower growth in Mexico weighs against a recovery
in Brazil, Argentina and the region's brisk domestic demand, the
United Nations said last month.