Portuguese food industry group Jerónimo Martins has announced plans to invest at least €500 million in the expansion of its network of supermarkets in Colombia.
The group already owns 149 Ara supermarkets in the South American country and its goal is to bring the number up to 1,000 by 2020.
“This is crucial for us,” Jerónimo Martins’ chairman Pedro Soares dos Santos told investors and market analysts in Colombia on Tuesday (March 15).
“Colombia is a source of innovation, it is very important and will have a short/medium-term impact on our group,” he said, stressing the South American country will focus the group on a “new, larger” market.
As he explained, Colombia has a population of over 48 million as opposed to Portugal’s 10 million.
“It’s a significant difference,” he said. “There’s a big food industry (in Colombia) that’s prepared to grow with us.”
Jerónimo Martins’ plan is to open smaller supermarkets, in order to compete with Colombia’s traditional grocers.
Most of the outlets will open in Bogotá and surrounding areas, as most of Jerónimo Martins’ supermarkets are in the regions of Eixo Cafeteiro and Costa do Caribe.
If moves in Colombia go well, the group will consider opening supermarkets in other South American countries, Soares dos Santos added.
Jerónimo Martins is a corporate group based in Portugal that specialises in food distribution. It owns the Pingo Doce supermarket chain, which has over 400 outlets in the country. The group also owns Biedronka, the largest supermarket chain in Poland.
The group’s owner Alexandre Soares do Santos is often included in lists of the world’s richest people. (click here).