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Standout Retail in Monterrey, Mexico: A Photo Tour of City Market, HEB and More

Earlier this spring, we had the opportunity to travel to the Monterrey area in Northern Mexico to visit leading retailers with one of our valued client teams.  As the pandemic began to ebb, we saw crowds of shoppers, bustling restaurants, and innovative retail concepts.  Here are some of our observations:

Premium Grocery Concepts Targeting the Affluent Consumer

In Monterrey’s prestigious San Pedro municipality, we visited two world-class retailers targeting the neighborhood’s upscale clientele:

City Market, owned by La Comer group, is an ultra-premium grocery market banner with a dozen store locations strategically located across Mexico. These stores combine an impressive selection of premium goods – including a full leg of jamon serrano, full-service cafés, and a controlled-access wine room featuring rare bottles of wine and spirits – with beautiful art deco interior design and top-of-the-line merchandising.  The result is a thoughtfully curated and experiential retail experience – from food and foodservice to home entertaining, including a large section devoted to gourmet brands like Reidel and Le Creuset as well as top-tier local offerings.

City Market’s premium experience extended to exemplary COVID-19 sanitary practices – all customers have been required to wear masks and gloves.

Another notable concept was the upscale H-E-B Market Prime store that blends the best of a traditional HEB store with features from their premium Central Market banner, beloved by shoppers for its emphasis on local foods, producers, and of-the-moment trends.  H-E-B’s Market Prime rivals large Whole Foods locations in Chicago in terms of size, quality of goods, merchandising, and breadth of assortment.

While some mass and club stores in Monterrey appeared nearly identical to their US counterpart locations, H-E-B made a significant effort to differentiate itself as an elevated, locally-sourced shopping destination. And though H-E-B is currently limited to locations in Northern Mexico (for now), we’ll be curious to see whether they can extend the brand country-wide, building upon a reputation as a high quality “masstige” alternative to mass stores or boutique markets.

Fashion Footwear continues to Draw the Crowds

A standout concept in the fashion space were the TAF stores (the Mexican franchise of The Athlete’s Foot), featuring fashion-forward footwear and apparel. Across malls, we noticed that footwear stores were some of the most heavily trafficked shops, with TAF stores standing out in crowded mall floorspace through notable signage, strong use of window space, smart sound and attractive lighting. Once inside, the modern and street-style ambiance highlights their assortment of the newest and hottest sneakers from top brands like Nike, Air Jordan, Adidas, and Puma. Store associates also fit the brand image seamlessly: they themselves trendy, individualistic (without a pre-set uniform), and clear brand advocates.

As the world begins its recovery and our travel possibilities reopen, we will continue to bring the world’s most innovative and unique retail concepts to our clients. If you want to learn more about our work in international expansion, strategic planning, or global retail innovation, simply Contact Us or email me directly at edelgado@mdretail.com.

Emerson Delgado

edelgado@mdretail.com

Emerson supports McMillanDoolittle projects from start tocompletion, working collaboratively with client and internal stakeholders on projects ranging from strategic and growth planning to digital transformation, consumer insights, and operations optimization.

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