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Eric Basset, President Cencosud Colombia:

"There is room for more supermarkets in Colombia"

On Thursday, Chilean Cencosud (South American Malls) officially presented their Jumbo supermarket brand in Cali.

Jumbo acquired the stores know as Carrefour and, since the French brand was acquired by the Chilean group (in November 2012), began the adoption of the new brand.

Eric Basset, president of Cencosud's supermarket division in Colombia, visited the shops in Cali, found that they were already fully adapted to the new brand and said that the company would continue growing in the country.

Eric Basset, President of Cencosud Colombia

They are currently analyzing 30 locations but don't have any opening dates yet.

There's no doubt that Colombia continues to attract foreign investment, but is there room in the supermarket segment to open more stores?
Yes, I think so. In our case we are committed to continue growing. Our first focus is to implement our business proposal and make clients know about it. Once we are consolidated we'll continue growing.

What benefits can customers expect from Jumbo?
We bring Colombians a higher quality standard at appropriate prices. That's our value scheme. We're going to pamper our customers because our aim is to offer quality and a better service.

But are prices the same as they were with Carrefour?
No. We have more competitive prices than those that Carrefour had. Additionally, there are always daily variations and comparisons with the competition.

Will sales improve this year?
This year we have been in line with what we expected due to the brand transition. We had to make many adjustments to the stores and change a lot of stock. We hope that the projections will be achieved and attain an increase in sales. I do not want to venture into percentage increases, but our first goal is to have satisfied customers.

In how many Latin countries does Cencosud operate?
It has a presence in Argentina, Chile, Peru, Brazil and Colombia.
But I'll let you know that, not taking Mexico into account, we might be number one in terms of sales in the region.

Does the company participate in the stock market?
Cencosud is a company that went public in Chile. Its main shareholder is the company founder, Mr. Horst Paulmann Kemna, a German businessman who lives in Chile.

The group manages several businesses, including a home improvement line (Easy), department stores (Paris Stores) and supermarkets, which is their big business.

We operate 72 supermarkets and 4 Easy stores, among others, in Colombia.


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