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Colombia: Ara plans to exceed 790 stores with more than 100 openings this year

Discount Retail Chain Tiendas Ara (owned by Jeronimo Martins) recently opened a new distribution center in Los Patios, Norte de Santander.

Although the pandemic has had a strong impact on the national economy and on the consumption of Colombian households, as a result of the various closures and circulation restrictions, in this crisis, Jerónimo Martins Colombia, owner of Ara's stores, has seen the opportunity to reevaluate their expansion plans to reach different areas of the country.

Based on this, according to the new CEO, Pedro Leandro, they plan to open more than 100 stores, to reach close to 800 by the end of 2021.

“We continue with our firm commitment to Colombia and the interest to continue growing to reach new municipalities. Today we have a presence in 20 departments, which allows us to truly live the purpose of proximity and guarantee access to the best quality products at the best price for Colombians. By 2021 we will continue with our expansion strategy to new areas of the country,” said Leandro.

That is why so far this year, Ara has already opened 26 stores, and has expanded the supply, in order to meet the growing demand, for which it has already completed 689 stores since its arrival in 2013.

In addition, it expanded its logistics network with new stores in Cúcuta and Montería.

On the other hand, in recent days the rumor about the purchase of discount chain Justo & Bueno also emerged, taking into account the reorganization process in which they are entering, however, to date, they have not commented on the possibilities of mergers or acquisitions, but in general, they are always looking for new options to consolidate in the market.

Pedro Leandro, General Director of Jerónimo Martins Colombia, "The company has made an important effort to continue on the path of growth and expansion in Colombia to consolidate its presence in the country."

Raúl ÁvilaEconomist expert, "The impact of Tiendas Ara has boosted the retail market, generating preferences in Colombian homes, which will allow it to continue expanding."

“We believe that there is a great opportunity that is intact from a business point of view. We will continue to grow in the country,” said Ana Luisa Virginia, CFO of Jerónimo Martins.

Likewise, after ending last year with a 24.4% growth in its sales, compared to 2019, for the first quarter of 2021, Ara managed to increase its revenues by 10.5% and reached $ 878,286 million.

"Ara has quite wide supplier channels, competitive prices in the market, strategic locations throughout the national territory, with access points facilities, payment points and very good targeting of products that are satisfying the needs of customers. Colombian homes”, explained the economist and business expert, Raúl Ávila.

In addition, the arrival of covid-19 prompted the generation of new services such as e-commerce and homes.

It should be remembered that 95% of its products are made in Colombia and during the pandemic this figure has been maintained, spokesmen said.

The challenges of the new Ara CEO

On April 5, Jerónimo Martins announced the appointment of Pedro Leandro as its new general director in Colombia, replacing Nuno Aguiar, who was in charge of the local Ara operation since 2016.

According to the company, among the challenges that he assumed is that of "continuing to position Ara as the ally of Colombian pantries and homes, ensuring proximity to customers."

In addition to continuing with the purpose of democratizing access to "own brands, the best prices in the market and the generation of opportunities in the areas where we have a presence."

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