Walmart de México y Centroamérica agreed to purchase the Perimercados and Súper Compro chains, as well as the Saretto store to the Grupo Empresarial de Supermercados (Gessa), a transaction that is subject to the approval of the Commission for the Promotion of Competition (COPROCOM ), of the Ministry of Economy, Industry, and Commerce (MEIC).

The request for authorization for this transaction was presented to Coprocom this day, in order for the current Gessa stores to become part of the Walmart operation in Costa Rica, the latter company reported in a statement on the afternoon of last Thursday, July 19th.

“The combined operation of the Walmart and Gessa stores generates an excellent complementarity to better serve the Costa Rican market. In this way, Walmart promotes its growth plans in the region, and Gessa’s current stores and collaborators will be able to offer increasing value to its customers”, said Cristian Barrientos Pozo, senior vice president and general manager of Walmart in Central America.

Once the authorization has been received from the authorities, Walmart will begin an integration process so that the 52 stores acquired are operated under their standards and brands in the country, according to the characteristics of each one. More than 1,300 employees of the acquired stores will join the Walmart team in Costa Rica.

A view of one of the MasxMenos supermarkets

Yanina Montero, director of the Coprocom Technical Support Unit, explained that the regulation establishes 30 calendar days to resolve, provided that the complete information is available. This is because after a technical study of 10 calendar days it can be defined that more information is required and requested from the parties. In addition, the Technical Unit can declare the concentration as complex and, with it, request an extension of another 60 calendar days to resolve the issue.

Coprocom has 3 options when it receives the case after the technical investigation: 1) Approve the concentration, 2) Deny it or approve it with conditions, and 3) Requesting adjustments to the parties.

Aquileo Sánchez, Walmart’s regional director of Corporate Affairs and Sustainability, said that the decision to buy was taken as a business opportunity based on complementarity, especially in terms of geographical location. He gave the example of the province of Guanacaste, where the presence with the sales points of Súper Compro will be greatly strengthened.

All current Gessa points of sale, he added, will be converted to one of the Walmart, Masxmenos, Maxi Palí or Palí brands, although that process will be defined when Coprocom resolves the purchase request. This means that the previous marks will disappear.

Sanchez also said that this acquisition will not mean a brake on Walmart’s investment and expansion plans in Costa Rica, as well as that it will open the door for all of Gessa’s current staff to be integrated into the company’s operations.

In the statement, Cristian Barrientos emphasized that Walmart and Gessa share solid business principles such as integrity, respect for people, customer service and the pursuit of excellence. An example of the above is that they are original signatories of the Declaration of Good Commercial Practices of Costa Rica. Likewise, both companies actively promote the formality of the retail industry in this market.

The number of stores operated by the Walmart chain in Costa Rica is currently 250, distributed in 11 Walmart, 36 MasxMenos, 40 Maxi Palí, and 163 Palí.

One of the Palí stores in Costa Rica

Only in the Walmart format, the larger establishments, the chain has 11 points of sale in the country. The most recent openings were in Liberia, Guanacaste (July 2017) and La Lima, in Cartago (December 2017).

They both join stores in Cartago, on the way to Paradise; Curridabat, San Sebastián, Guadalupe, Tibás, Escazú, Alajuela, Heredia, and Desamparados.

Walmart claims that it has 1,836 suppliers in Costa Rica and that, in the Central America region, it markets 350,000 different products.

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