Cencosud heiress makes major US acquisition

Through Regine Eveno. Published on 13 June 2022 à 15h49 - Update on 21 October 2022 à 21h44

Barely appointed President of Cencosud on April 2022 to succeed her father, the billionaire Horst Paulmann, Heike Paulmann has spent US$676 million to buy 67% of the American company The Fresh Market (160 premium supermarkets, turnover of US$1.93 billion by 2021). In the same week, she invested US$100 million in Brazilian GIGA (10 cash-and-carry stores in Sao Paulo).

The leading Chilean retailer (turnover of US$15.2 billion in Q1 2022, of which US$7.2 billion coming from the rents of its 67 malls) thus makes inroads in the U.S.A. 

For this 51-year-old heiress, who pays tribute to her father, an immigrant from Germany who became a “pioneer of retail in Latin America”, this is a major strategic step. She has already proven herself in the family business, which is still controlled at 53% by Horst Paulmann, aged 86. Together with her four sons, she founded the “Aventura Center” entertainment chain in 1993. A graduate of the University of Chile and holder of an MBA from the Adolfo Ibáñez University, she promises her shareholders to follow her father’s precepts: “Services, Services, Services”. Surrounded by her brother and former Cencosud employees, she has announced US$640 million in investments for 2022 to increase productivity and automation. To grow this omnichannel group, active in 5 sectors (supermarkets, department stores, malls, home furnishings and financial services), she has two strong assets: the group’s solid financial base and a land reserve of 5.5 billion sq.m.