IADS Exclusive: Panama, a call for differentiation

IADS Exclusive November 2023 IADS

Following the IADS CEO meeting in Mexico City last May, the IADS had the opportunity to travel to Panama to discover the Felix B. Maduro and Steven’s department store chains. The purpose was also to meet with the Felix B. Maduro leading team.

Small in size, but with a disproportionate GDP, Panama is an interesting country, standing both as a transit point between North and South America and as an entry gate (the country is dubbed “the Hub of the Americas). While the Canal is a significant driver of the country’s economy, annually racking in $2bn and contributing 3% to the country’s GDP, it contributed to the development of a very dynamic service sector now representing 80% of the country’s economy.

Thanks to the service sector in a well-connected country, Panama was able to grow its GDP four times the regional average prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, at an average of +4.7% p.a., and in 2023 should grow +5.7%. As such, the combination of such dynamism with the fact of being a hub allows the country to attract regional and international money, which in turn favors retail. 

We review our market visit below to understand how local department store companies have adapted to such conditions.

IADS provides its members with a weekly in-depth analysis on retail-oriented topics.

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