I’m usually looking for little microcosms of news to help me better express what I mean when I speak on aspects of the Mexican business landscape. Well here is one I found today, published by one of my favorite magazine groups, Expansion, through its magazine Obras: Los nuevos malls que abrirán en la Ciudad de México en 2016.
The news story is that 13 new malls are scheduled to open this year in the Mexico City metropolitan area. Hear, again, that’s Thirteen New Shopping Malls to Open in One City in Twelve Months. That is 3.9 million square feet, and one-third of the malls that will open this year in the country. So approximately 40 malls are set to open nationwide. This after the largest mall in Latin America opened a little over a year ago between Mexico City and Queretaro.
The mall. I know Mexico City is big but that is explosive growth. I will be watching for the diversity of midrange stores within said malls, as Inditex— the company that owns Zara– and the three big department stores– Sears (Grupo Carso), Liverpool and Palacio de Hierro (Grupo Bal)– have tended to dominate. We’ll see how that turns out. I believe there is significant anti-dumping penalty observance going on for textile imports from China, which has fed a retail hegemony here, historically. There is hope, though, as the potential of the large, growing, and underserved market that is the Mexican middle class is recognized. Since 2013 retailers like H&M and Forever21 have begun to break in, as well as American Eagle Outfitters. American Eagle no doubt recognized the ginormous representation of pesos that flow into its stores at outlet malls in Texas and Arizona.
Either way, this little microcosm of news demonstrates something I fear usually comes out too understated when I just say it myself, which is, «the Mexican middle class.» Get ready. Thirteen Malls!