Puerto Vallarta (PVDN) – The company Fomento Económico Mexicano (FEMSA) announced the sale of its stake in Heineken this week and announced its intention to take Oxxo convenient stores north of the border to the United States, in addition to expanding its model of stores without checkouts and with artificial intelligence, according to General Director of FEMSA, Daniel Rodríguez Cofré.
Rodríguez Cofre highlighted that, only in Mexico, they continue to see many opportunities for the growth of Oxxo, which is why they believe that they will be able to continue with growth rates of between 800 and a thousand units per year.
“The divestment in Heineken will provide resources, but it will also free it from regulatory restrictions on its intentions to boost the retail business in the United States market,” said Rodríguez Cofre.
In addition, the manager explained that other formats will be exploited, such as Smart stores, which operate under an artificial intelligence model that allows them to automatically charge people when they leave the store, such as the one at Tec de Monterrey, in Nuevo Leon.
Rodríguez Cofre also did not rule out the possibility of opening a new Oxxo Smart store, as well as new formats, such as Bara or Pronto, since they see opportunities to continue growing in Mexico as well, and then complement that with the other formats “that we are developing”, he mentioned.
According to the manager, growing Oxxo ‘s presence in the Mexican market goes hand in hand with growth in Latin America, and exploring a greater presence in Brazil.
Currently, the company has 30,000 units in its retail division, with revenues of $19 billion dollars annually. Of the total number of stores, 73% are in the Mexican Republic and include Oxxo, gas stations, Bara, and Pronto.
While 14% belongs to its Health division in Mexico and Latin America, 9% to its proximity businesses in Europe with the recently acquired Valora, and 4% to its proximity business in South America.
With its new business plan, it expects that of all its units, Mexico will represent 71% of stores and 69% in revenue, the health part 12% in units, and 17% in revenue. Europe 6% of units and 4% in revenue.
FEMSA acquired Valora in 2022, a company with which it seeks growth in Europe. On the subject, Rodríguez Cofre pointed out that there were good opportunities in terms of organic growth in the markets in which the Swiss company is currently, so it is most likely that it will continue to grow organically, although the possibility exists of making some other purchase.
“If there are good opportunities in the current market in terms of non-organic acquisition, we will look at them. And besides that, I mean, if there are also good opportunities in other markets in Europe, we will also consider it,” the FEMSA executive said.
It was also revealed that FESMA prefers the Europe market over the US, because although the US is a neighboring market, in the evaluation of the projects they found certain challenges, among them, that the convenience store business is highly linked to gas stations in the United States, which isn’t the model of Oxxo, because until recently, only Pemex operated gas stations in the country.
It was explained, that business in the future represented some uncertainty and risks due to the adoption of electric cars, and it was expected that there would be a contraction in the consumption of this type of fossil fuels in the medium and long term.
On the other hand, they began to understand Europe and when they found Valora, they noticed that it met almost all the criteria they were looking for, which were very low exposure to fuels, it is a multi-country, multi-format platform, with a very relevant business in Switzerland and Germany and with sales of more than $2 billion Swiss francs.
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