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3.3 Chile : Distribution and Import Channels

Contemporary Retail Landscape

According to Latin American standards, Chile’s retail sector is considered very concentrated and organised. As per latest available statistics, the Chilean retail sector is mainly composed of 94,958 small (mom and pop) shops, 15,453 local consumption stores1, 1,784 drugstores and perfumeries, 631 convenience stores, 689 hypermarkets/supermarkets, 353 department stores and 43 shopping malls. In the period 2003-2007, Chile’s retail sales recorded growth of 39%, demonstrating a CAGR of more than 8%. Stored-based retailing increased by 38% between 2003-2007, while non-store retailing (though insignificant in terms of market share) grew by 50% over the same period, with internet retailing demonstrating a CAGR of 45%.

Retail Sales by Sector: 2003-2007 (in billion peso)

  2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
Stored-based retailing 10,348 10,965 12,080 13,085 14,326
 Grocery 5,917 6,173 6,718 7,124 7,844
 Non-grocery 4,431 4,792 5,362 5,961 6,482
Non-store retailing 309 338 380 421 462
 Vending 63 66 71 76 82
 Home shopping 24 27 30 33 37
 Internet retailing 23 40 65 85 103
 Direct retailing 199 205 214 227 240
Total 10,657 11,303 12,460 13,506 14,788
Source: Euromonitor

Regarding market structure, the Chilean retail sector is basically concentrated in the hands of five giant retail groups, namely Cencosud, Falabella, D&S, Ripley and La Polar, which have many different kinds of retail operations including shopping malls, department stores, hypermarkets/supermarkets and home centres. Not only do these giant groups have a strong foothold in Chile, but also neighbouring countries such as Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia and Peru. For instance, Cencosud and Falabella have substantial investment in shopping malls and department stores in Argentina. Apart from retail business, also noteworthy is that these giant retailers have diversified their core businesses and moved into the business of extending consumer credit. It is estimated that the number of credit cards issued by these large retailers is more than three times higher than that of all the traditional credit card operators such as Visa, MasterCard and American Express in Chile.


Major Retail Players in Chile
Shopping Malls Department Stores Hypermarkets / Supermarkets
Mall Plaza Vespucio Falabella Lider (D&S)
Parque Arauco Almacenes Paris Hipermecados Jumbo
Mall Alto Las Condes Ripley Santa Isabel
Mall Portal La Dehesa La Polar Montserrat
Mall Florida Center Johnson’s Unimarc
Mall Arauco Maipu   San Francisco
Apumanque Centre   Ekono

1 Including fast-food restaurants, restaurants, bars, cafeterias, etc.

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Content provided by Hong Kong Trade Development Council
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