The PriceSmart chain of warehouse style stores has indicated it will enter the Colombian market with plans to open its first South American branch in Barranquilla. Founded by Sol Price, who had previously founded FedMart and Price Club and who was an inspiration for Sam Walton of WalMart fame, PriceSmart is a membership-only department store that offers discount prices, typically for bulk purchases of food and household goods. It is similar in concept to Sam’s Club, BJ’s, and Costco in the US. Indeed, Price Club was acquired by CostCo in the early 1990s.
PriceSmart’s main base of operations is presently Central America where it operates approximately 17 stores. San Jose, Costa Rica, alone boasts five locations including outlets in Alajuela, Escazu and Heredia. PriceSmart locations may also be found in the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Aruba, and several other Caribbean countries.
PriceSmart in Central America is immensely popular with ex-pats because it offers the opportunity to purchase US-brand food and household goods, items that are typically not available anywhere else. Additionally, because PriceSmart caters to the local population, prices tend to be inexpensive even by local standards. Alas, PriceSmart has been “discovered” by the market; its share price is roughly 2.5 times what it was two years ago.
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