Despite the challenges brought upon by the pandemic, global fast-fashion retailers are continuing to strengthen their foothold in new Latin American countries, including Guatemala, Panama, and Uruguay.
H&M’s first Panama location — a 2,200-square-metre store — opened its doors in the Multiplaza Mall early this month after having to postpone its 2020 launch due to the pandemic. Latin America has become one of the fastest-growing markets for the Swedish retailer, which is also present in Mexico, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Puerto Rico and Uruguay.
But H&M’s Spanish competitors are also looking to expand their footprint in the continent. Mango has its sights set on Uruguay — the first of three stores due to open there will debut in November at Montevideo Shopping, a mall in the country’s capital. Meanwhile, Bimba y Lola entered Guatemala in July, less than a month after its first opening in Peru.
Also spreading its reach across the region is sports giant Decathlon, gearing up for its arrival in Uruguay. Its inaugural store, slated to open in November, will be located in Canelones (45 kilometres outside Montevideo). The brand is already a fixture elsewhere in Latin America, having established itself in Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico. The French company also plans to open a second Uruguayan store in 2022.
The pandemic has radically shifted the retail landscape, creating new challenges for incumbents H&M Group and Zara-owner Inditex.