As the England football team prepares for its crucial World Cup match against Uruguay tonight, Retail Week looks at how its competition fares in the retail stakes.
Big game preview: Sao Paulo, June 19
Stats: Uruguay might not be on many UK retailers hit lists just yet but consultancy AT Kearney ranked it an impressive third on its influential Global Retail Development Index last year, up one from 2012 thanks to increasing consumer spending increases. Historically dependent on its neighbours Brazil and Argentina, the country is becoming a core retail destination on its own merits.
Who to watch out for: While the country frets on the will-he-won’t-he recovery of Liverpool nibblerLuis Suarez, the big winners have inevitably been retailers selling LED TVs. Uruguayan electricals retailer Motociclo director Leonardo Rozenblum estimated sales grew 20-25% in LED TVs over the past week, while rival Barraca Europa recorded a sales increase of 40% over the same period.
A small but growing band of international retailers ply their trade in one of South America’s less developed markets. Indeed, several global brands have moved into the capital city of Montevideo and popular resort city Punta del Este to take advantage of Uruguay’s economic growth, real estate availability, strong tourist flow and political stability.
US retail chain Gap has opened two stores there, making its debut in the mall Punta Carretas Shopping, Montevideo before opening a second store in the Montevideo Shopping Centre. Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Yves Saint Laurent, Emporio Armani, and Calvin Klein have opened stores in Uruguay or have plans to do so.
French grocery giant Casino Group has been active in the Uruguayan market since 1998 and its local subsidiary, Disco, is the country’s top mass retailer, with a multi-format network comprising Disco, Devoto and Géant, the latter Uruguay’s first—and still its only—hypermarket, located in the Montevideo region.
Verdict: Full of potential but something of an unknown quantity, Uruguay’s lack of international experience might play into England’s favour.