It would be wrong should the hostility to Mexico trumpeted by the US President-elect result in the Mexican wave becoming a sign of drowning.

It’s actually a beacon of welcome, not least for international retailers and especially from the US.

How ironic to note the desire of US retailers to cross a border into a country that Trump is so determined to demonise.

Apple has just opened its first flagship in Mexico, as has Victoria’s Secret, and they follow in the footsteps of other US retail giants who have entered the country in recent years such as Williams-Sonoma, Gap and Forever 21. Amazon too, just one year ago, announced its expansion into physical goods sales in Mexico.

Real estate developers have predicted that by 2025 there will be 200 new Mexican malls

The biggest retailer in Mexico, Walmart aka Walmex, is strongly outperforming its US parent.

The plans announced by Walmex to double its sales between 2014 and 2024 are well on track and net sales for the latest quarter rose 10% versus 2.5% north of the border.

‘Ecommerce boom’

So when it comes to bricks and mortar, it’s stores not walls that should be built in Mexico.

Real estate developers have predicted that by 2025 there will be 200 new Mexican malls.

Inditex, for one, will certainly approve as Mexico is clearly an attractive market for Zara and its sister brands given their 345 stores in Mexico compared to just 73 in the USA.

An ecommerce boom for Mexico is also widely predicted, fuelled in particular by the rise in importance of a young, urban middle class.

The latest United Nations’ estimates (November 20, 2016) put the current population of Mexico at 129,250,517. Almost 80% of the population is urbanised and the median age is 27.8 years – fertile conditions for a digital lift-off.

“When I compare it to Madrid, DF is much bigger and a lot younger. I’m surrounded by very well educated people with an excellent service culture”

Juan Carlos Escribano, El Palacio de Hierro

Mexico is clearly not without its problems, ones that the international media are quick to report: kidnappings, drugs wars and, at present, headline anxieties about relations with its northern neighbour.

But Mexico is not alone in a world troubled on so many fronts by terrorism and populist unrest.

When it comes to international trading relations, Brexit has tossed a British cat amongst our fellow Europeans’ pigeons and President Obama’s much-prized Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement looks prey to his successor’s whim.

Strong commercial potential

There are, in fact, many good reasons for overseas retailers and brand-owners to develop commercial relations with their counterparts or potential clients in Mexico.

I have made numerous recent trips to DF (Mexico City’s Distrito Federal) and been delighted to discover some very fine stores: La CoMer’s City supermarkets; Esperanza’s Panaderia bakery on Moliere; Liverpool’s and Palacio’s flagship department stores in Polanco, amongst many others.

As the El Palacio de Hierro president Juan Carlos Escribano, formerly the Grupo Cortefiel chief executive, told me: “When I compare it to Madrid, DF is much bigger and a lot younger. I’m surrounded by very well educated people with an excellent service culture. And I dine in some fantastic restaurants.”

The Mexico I have recently been privileged to get to know is a land of great retailers and restaurateurs, a far cry from the “criminals” and ”rapists” of Mr Trump’s imaginings.

  • Michael Poynor is founder and managing director of Retail Expertise