[slideshow_deploy id=’1843′] The Nicaragua retail market is one of the least developed retail markets is Latin America. Unlike the very active and more developed Costa Rica retail market, El Salvador retail market, Guatemala retail market, Panama retail market, or the Honduras retail market, the Nicaragua retail market offer growth opportunities.
Nicaragua’s economy grew at 4.2% in 2011 and is expected to contract to 3.4% in 2012 (Funides). Demand in 2011 was primarily being driven by a 25% in private and public investment, a 22% surge in exports, and 7% increase in remittances. Nicaragua’s 2010 GDP was estimated at $6.5 billion (World Bank) and its per-capita income was the second lowest in the region for a country of 5.8 million. Although small in relative terms, Nicaragua’s retail market and business environment welcomes investment. Nicaragua’s Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Development has put in place a system (VUI) designed to streamline and expedite business formation with no distinction to domestic and foreign businesses. The commercial code and the foreign investment law apply to franchising matters.
The retail sector in Nicaragua is led by the supermarkets. The three major supermarket chains in Nicaragua are: Palí (mid-range), La Unión (upscale), and La Colonia. U.S. based PriceSmart operates a retail warehouse store in Managua. Wal-Mart is Nicaragua’s largest supermarket chain and as of 10/2011 operates 67 units ( 58 Palí, 8 La Unión 8, and 1 Maxi Pali).There are also as many as 16,000 “mom and pop” stores and informal vendors that compete with larger retailers. Nicaraguans welcome and recognize US brands. US franchises and retailers operating in Nicaragua include Burger King, McDonald’s, TGI Friday’s, Pizza Hut, Domino’s Pizza, Papa John’s, Subway, Quiznos, Subway, Napa Auto Parts, Hertz, Avis, Budget Rent a Car, DHL, Best Western, Holiday Inn. Malls such as Managua’s Galerias Santo Domingo, Metrocentro, and Multicentro Las Americas feature stores such as Benetton, La Curacao, Lacoste, Steve Madden, Nine West, Payless Shoesource, Quiksilver, Hush Puppies, and Radio Shack.
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