Thursday , February 25 2021

I will strengthen Falabella's internationalization to Latam: CEO



The retail industry (better known as retail) faces a brutal transformation. Internet sales are threatening one of the sectors of the economy that generate the world's largest employment.

Gaston Bottazziņi, CEO of Falabella since June 1, is more than clear about the new challenges ahead, but it is also clear that the company is more than willing to handle change.

The company has just completed its capital increase, which raised $ 550 million, the resources that will be used mainly for the acquisition of Linna and the development of the Ikea franchise in South America.

"My mission is to speed up some projects. But more than change, it's more intense in some of the strategies that were already in place. In addition, the whole capital raising process played a very important role in this transition," says Bottazzini in an interview with Diario Financiero.

Origins and Challenges

While Gaston Bottazziņz noted over the past 30 years that e-commerce is one of the most significant changes in the industry, it also highlights the rapid change of businesses, their brands and credit cards from retail

"Between the late 1970s and the early 1980s, Falabella appeared in financial transactions, and I believe that along with other retailers in the market, they transformed this industry and were pioneers in a process that was very important for the industry and the state," he says.

"While we are already in seven countries, in 150 cities, in several markets, we simply mow our feet. So the part of the stamp I'm trying to print relates to the consolidation of the internationalization process in Latin America."

"With Lynn's purchase and market integration, group value offerings are challenging to transform something that was a group of digital global companies into a single ecosystem that faces a customer that strengthens and captures the company's technological capabilities, analytical, logistics and financial capabilities. That's why would enhance the experience of financial transactions. "

– You already play an important role in Latin America. Have you analyzed the entry of the United States into one of its formats?

We have studied many times to leave the region. Our call today is to be Latin-oriented, we believe that we still have many opportunities for growth in this region.

– We go to the markets. Is Uruguay only intended to use the Sodimac format, is it plan to add other divisions?

The more our company we are in, the more successful we are in the sense that subsidiaries are mutually reinforcing. However, not all countries will develop and expand our business at the same pace. At the heart of our focus, not having big divisions – Brazil, Uruguay and Mexico – is consolidating our position, not thinking about incorporating new formats.

– Does Brazil have a plan to grow with the division of the new regions?

The Brazilian plan is to continue to develop a housing improvement business focusing on the state of Sao Paulo and proving it to be a successful model.

Brazil has no plans to enter new formats. There is no specific plan to go to other regions except Sao Paulo.

– In Mexico, what is the current state of the group?

Our alliance with Soriano began two years ago. Three months ago, we started issuing CMR cards called Falabella-Soriana, and today we have a 200,000 card base that meets our expectations.

We are now focusing on a better understanding of the Mexican customer, adapting our risk and hosting patterns, and evolving from card growth to financial product growth. On the other hand, the agreement with Soriana also includes the development of Sodimac in Mexico. A few months ago we opened our first store, we had a very good reception from Mexican customers, better meeting expectations. By the end of the year, we will also open a second store in Mexico and a third store in Kuernav.

– Given the positive results you mentioned, are there plans to accelerate the opening of stores?

In fact, our open plan is rather ambitious, because, unlike what happened in other markets where we arrived with a large office space, such as Brazil, Mexico, this is a 100% organic increase.

– Sodimac stores in Mexico will always be attracted to Soriana stores?

Most store outlets are affiliated with Soriana stores with 800 outlets, most of which are large supermarkets. This has become a very important advantage as we can create a kind of energy center between two formats in places that Soriana has already tested.

– In Colombia, the group has several formats, such as Sodimac, many goods stores and shopping centers, as well as financial business.

Chile, Colombia and Peru are the countries where we have the most formats and businesses, and also Linna. In these markets, we want to prioritize what we call the digital ecosystem, which mainly means using logistics and technology opportunities, our own brands, financial transactions; to make a more powerful proposal.

At the same time, we see growth opportunities in Columbia in shopping malls, and we have greatly increased the opening of department stores.

– Peru is a similarity?

In general, yes, the difference is that we have less space for growth, as there is a large range of formats, for example, for the improvement of many stores and homes. In this country, we are growing up in supermarkets, and we believe that we have the opportunity to grow in the financial business. If we were to analyze the state of maturity by country, then Chile, then Peru and then Colombia are first. Against this background, the most powerful growth opportunities are in Colombia, where we have a relatively smaller business than Chile and Peru.

Argentina is a more complex market.

We have opened a Sodimac store in Argentina, but our focus in this country is much slower. The development of financial transactions has been slower; department stores. This is due to the fact that the same market volatility did not allow us to bet on a country that we think has a great potential.

– Is it possible to meet the standards that exist in the US?

I have no doubt that it is. In Chile and Latin America we will achieve the same standards, but this will cost us much more because we have no infrastructure installed already in countries such as the United States, even Europe.


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