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Our guide to Rio de Janeiro

Beyond the Olympics: retail excellence in Rio

With the worlds sporting eyes on Brazil this summer, what is the retail landscape of one of Latin America’s three megacities, and how do differentiated and contrasting propositions ensure success for its biggest local retailers? Europe, Middle East and Africa Region Manager Jon Wright investigate in his Rio de Janeiro city guide! 

In the full city guide, available to download for free via Retail Analysis here, we highlight four small and three large format retailers from across the region: 

  1. Zona Sul
  2. Pão de Açúcar
  3. Supermercados Mundial
  4. Prezunic
  5. Guanabara
  6. Extra
  7. Carrefour 

Here, let’s focus on three: Zona Sul, Pão de Açúcar and Guanabara.

Zona Sul

Zona Sul is ubiquitous across Rio’s more affluent areas. It’s a retailer that lives and breathes Rio de Janeiro, embracing the city in in-store merchandising, showcasing its local credentials to great effect. It understands its core customer well and has built a premium focused proposition around their needs.

This retailer stands out in many ways, including how it works with suppliers to develop exclusive labels and products. Many stores also include a café.

Pão de Açúcar

Part of GPA, Grupo Éxito and finally Casino, Pão de Açúcar has stores across much of Brazil but is particularly strong in Rio de Janeiro, where its origins lie. On this road there are two stores – with a smaller store at 214.

The store has clear strengths in fresh, premium, organics and exceptional visual merchandising

Private label is strong compared with rivals, including in a dedicated organics range, though brands are also given good presence. At the time of our last visit, individual stores were running their own weekly specials, reflecting local shoppers’ needs and creating more localised reasons to visit.


Guanabara is a Carioca favourite, trading in much larger stores than Zona Sul that are often c. 5,000 sq. m.

Low prices and strong value communication are core elements of the proposition. Though a large format, SKU count is kept in check, delivering scale benefits that reinforce the value proposition. The store delivers this in an environment that is easy to navigate and pleasant to shop.

View the full guide to see all of what Rio has to offer via Retail Analysis, our subscription service providing retail and consumer goods industry insight and analysis, covering 400+ retailers and 100+ markets.

Did you know that we have a dedicated team to facilitate retailer study trips? Contact Gavin Rothwell, for cities in Europe, and Stewart Samuel, for North America, to hear how we helped others and how we can take you on a retail safari! 


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