Wal-Mart's Long Game Poised To Reap Rewards In Mexico

Mexico is a retail market fast reaching its developmental peak. As such, competition is ramping up, with local players like Soriana eager to make up ground on market leader Wal-Mart. Having absorbed domestic rival Comercial Mexicana, Soriana has set an ambitious growth plan from 2018 onwards. Wal-Mart, however, is unlikely to be seriously challenged any time soon, as its multi-format strategy — hypermarkets/discount-bodega stores/warehouse clubs — ensures it covers a broad swath of the population.

This does not mean that Walmart of Mexico and Central America, or Walmex, is resting on its laurels. Previous commitments to enhance areas like logistics and the integration of its digital platforms are beginning to bear fruit. Walmex has been busily sustaining funding across its diverse portfolio to ensure its various offerings are properly differentiated. This is becoming increasingly important as the Mexican market matures and changing demographics shift consumer habits and needs.

With the consumer price index forecast to remain stable for the near term and both overall and per capital gross domestic product predicted to climb significantly through 2020, this is a market where shopper expectations will see significant change. More sophisticated assortments will become far more prized by Mexican consumers as tastes mature. Health and wellness, too, will likely become a particular concern to shoppers, especially in the fast-growing middle class segment.

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