MEXICO CITY — Liverpool, Mexico’s largest department-store chain, will open three stores in 2014 to lift its count to 104 as it continues expanding in Latin America’s second-largest economy, investor relations director Jose Antonio Diego told WWD.
Diego said the outlets will open outside Mexico City, where Liverpool is focusing its expansion.
Listed on the Mexican Stock Exchange, Liverpool rolled out three department stores this year, the latest of which opened in the border town of Mexicali in Baja California. Other stores opened in Veracruz and Campeche.
Liverpool’s expansion comes amid an increasingly difficult trading market in Mexico where analysts forecast department-store sales will grow 8 to 10 percent this year, down from 10 to 15 percent in 2012. On the back of a weakening economy, growth could turn more sluggish next year.
In the January-September period, Liverpool’s revenues rose 10.4 percent to 48 billion pesos, or $3.6 billion at current exchange, Diego said. He would not provide a year-end target or comment on analysts’ views that turnover could fall sharply in 2013.
However, a source close to Liverpool, said: “I don’t entirely agree with their views. Trading has been reasonably stable throughout the year and sales could increase in the fourth quarter” if the Christmas season fulfills expectations.
In 2012, Liverpool, which competes head to head with Sears de Mexico and El Palacio de Hierro, delivered sales of 66.2 billion pesos, or $4.96 billion.
According to a statement, third-quarter operating profits increased 1.5 percent to 5.7 billion pesos, or $427.5 million, while net profits inched up 0.6 percent to 4.05 billion, or $303.7 million.
As of September, Liverpool spent 4.06 billion pesos (of a planned 7 billion pesos) to open and remodel stores. Operating expenses have increased this year on expansion and aggressive marketing campaigns to fend off tougher competition and lift sales against lower consumption, the firm said.
To boost its fortunes, Liverpool recently signed ventures to expand Gap (which has 10 doors) and Aéropostale which recently opened its maiden shop in Mexico City.
Liverpool also has a venture to expand Spanish department-store El Corte Inglés’ Sfera youngsters’ chain in Mexico.