Portuguese food retailer to invest $552M in Colombia

Portuguese food retailer Jeronimo Martins has announced it is to invest $552 million over three years as it starts operations in Colombia, Bloomberg reported Wednesday.

Portugal’s biggest food retailer stated it intends to open stores in Colombia by 2012 and expand its interests in Poland from 1,649 to 3,000 retail locations of its Biedronka chain by 2015.

The food group which owns the Pingo Doce hypermarket and Recheio brands in Portugal announced its selection of Colombia saying that the Latin American nation offers “significant competitive advantages” including democratic and strong institutions, a functioning judicial system and a significant population.

It identified areas of opportunity in the Colombian food market as 60% of food retail takes place in traditional street markets, 20% by non-roganized players, supermarkets offer “a high price value proposition, even when compared to western standards,” and “most food products are expensive.”

Entering the Colombian market is part of Jeronimo Martins’ strategic priorities to secure long-term growth according to an investor presentation. The company aims to be one of the top three Colombian food retailers within five years.

Colombian Trade Minister Sergio Diaz-Granados visited Portugal in April 2011 to encourage entrepreneurs to invest in Colombia.

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