Mexico: a land of retail opportunity

The Mexican economy is booming. Wealth from the country’s extensive natural resources, such as silver and copper, and many other successful industries (textiles, agriculture and tourism) is contributing to a region which, along with Brazil and Chile, is bucking the great recession that continues to affect many other parts of the world. Where Europe is languishing, Latin America is saying Arriba!

As such, it’s a great time for retailers. New Malls and stores are opening countrywide. In Mexico City itself, the biggest and most complete mall, Centro Santa Fe, has added a big new extension that will open in 2013. New brands will include American Eagle, Benetton, Sears, Gap and Sephora which will be joined by flagship stores for premium International brands including Pink, Hackett, Facconable, Dolce & Gabbana, Chanel, Coach and Ferragamo.

Local retailers are implementing exciting plans too. The biggest department store chain, ‘Liverpool’, has just opened an exciting Food Court – yes that’s right, exciting and food court in the same sentence! Known as; ‘Gourmet Experience’, this combines a restaurant and deli quality food with international take-home groceries, available to eat in or take away and set within a distinctive contemporary environment. It is reminiscent of Selfridges opening in the Birmingham Bullring, although this venture is all together on a much grander and more impressive scale.

One thing that was also noticeable was how Mexican retailers are embracing digital technology – not just in a small way, but as whole concepts within retail environments. The results of this were dramatic and mesmerising. Digital media is applied to whole walls, focal points, window displays and signage – bringing brand campaigns to life in a way that 2D printed matter simply cannot compete with.

Click here to see more pictures of booming brands in Mexico.

Mexico: Casa Palacio

This store can only be described as breathtaking.

Casa Palacio has three stores, two in Mexico City and one in Acapulco. It sells a unique collection of furniture, home accessories, home decoration and home items. This latest and recently opened example is located in the new Centro Santa Fe Mall extension – due to fully open during 2013. It is located at the end of the mall in a commanding position, next to designer clothing mega brands Dolce & Gabbana, Chanel and Pink.

The design emphasis in this part of the mall is on luxury. Opulent white carrara marble floors, full height contemporary architecture and natural light have been used to create a premium look and feel to showcase the biggest and best in international brands.

Inside this new store, an original Mexican house and courtyard has been thoughtfully incorporated into the new design – creating an innovative juxtaposition between old and new. Built over several floors, the store is a series of small, interconnected rooms that flow seamlessly between each other. Each is themed and decorated with a distinctive product, brand or lifestyle theme – and zoned into traditional South American, European and British, with a mix of classic and contemporary products and themes. Every part of the store has a lavish and carefully curated feel, demonstrating expert attention to detail in VM and retail standards.

VM is exceptional instore. Even the simplest of areas, for mattress and pillow selection, is handled like a luxury boutique hotel. Around the store, it is hard to isolate any particular product areas as the standard is SO high and consistently done. However, the cookshop on the ground floor with its intricate wooden scultpural centre piece that connects through to the floors above is, quite simply, remarkable.

This store embodies creativity and wow factor. It is luxurious, inspiring and ambitious. It is not, however, so exclusive that a potential customer feels ill at ease by simply looking and touching. The staff at Casa Palacio were polite, friendly and engaging, and with discrete service facilities (credit, payment, delivery and wedding list etc. ) carefully woven into the store – the premium experience was maintained throughout. This exciting branch of Casa Palacio is one of the best stores I have visited in a long time.

Click here to view more images of Casa Palacio on the Visual Thinking Facebook page.