Mexican and Chilean operations among Latin America’s top BrandZ

Walmart’s Bodega Aurrera stores in Mexico and Lider stores in Chile are among the most valuable Brands in Latin American, according to an extensive new report by global communications giant WPP.

The firm’s Millward Brown division in conjunction with BrandAnalytics conducted an extensive research project to assign and rank the value of brands in such leading Latin American countries as Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile and Colombia. In Mexico, Walmart’s Bodega Aurrera brand ranked 22nd overall and fifth within the list of Mexican brands. Walmart’s Lider stores in Chile ranked 26th overall and sixth within the list of Chilean companies.

Regarding Mexico, the report noted that “the Bodega Aurrera discount store brand is the dominant and fastest growing format operated by Walmart de Mexico y Centroamerica. Bodega Aurrera added a record 305 units in 2011, ending the year with a total of 1,204 stores. The stores offer both food and general merchandise in three different formats sized to local market needs. The store portfolio includes 385 full size Bodega Aurrera outlets, 227 medium size Mi Bodega Aurrera stores and 592 small format Bodega Aurrera Express locations. The brand emphasizes low prices and features a masked wrestler character named Mama Lucha. Clad in a green costume bearing the Bodega Aurrera logo, she serves as “la campeona de los precios bajos” (the champion of low prices).

The Bodega Aurrera brand was founded in 1958 by Cifra SA de CV, a company that began trading on the Mexican stock exchange in 1977. In 1991, Cifra entered into a joint venture with Wal-Mart Stores Inc., to begin opening Wal-Mart stores in Mexico. In 1997, Wal-Mart acquired a controlling stake in Cifra and in 2000 the company’s name was changed to Wal-Mart de Mexico, SAB de CV. In 2010 Wal-Mart Mexico acquired the Central American operations of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., and became known as Walmart de Mexico y Centroamerica.

Walmart’s Lider brand in Chile operates 69 supermarkets that average 71,000 square feet (6,600 square meters), as well as 57 smaller format Express Lider stores, which average 17,000 square feet (1,600 square meters).

“The brand grew slowly in 2011 as Lider and Express Lider each added one unit,” according to the report.

In early 2009 Wal-Mart Stores Inc. acquired a controlling interest in the Lider brand’s parent company, Distribucion y Servicios D&S SA. The following year D&S changed its name to Walmart Chile SA.

“Under Walmart’s ownership the Lider brand has placed an increased emphasis on every day low prices in keeping with the longstanding strategy of its parent company,” according to the report. “In addition, growth of the Lider brand has taken a backseat to Walmart Chile’s other food formats, Ekono and SuperBodega aCuenta, which serve the market in a no frills and limited assortment fashion.”

Walmart Chile added 23 small format Ekono stores to end 2011 with 137 units. And it added 13 SuperBodega aCuenta stores to end the year with 51 units. Walmart Chile ended 2011 with a total of 314 food formats operating under four different banners.

For more details on the rankings and the report’s methodology click here.