Grupo Pão de Açúcar (GPA), Brazil’s largest retailer, has more than doubled its investment in technology in 2010 to support accelerated growth prompted by ever-wealthier consumers.
Total investment in infrastructure at the group, which includes funding for technology and logistics, reached R$ 389.8m ($234.1m) in 2010. In the last quarter of the year alone, GPA invested R$177.4m ($106.5m) in that area of the business, compared to R$ 64.4m ($38.6m) spent in the same period in 2009.
GPA reported an increase in net income to R$447m for the last three months of 2010. This compares with R$203.5m in the same period in the prior year. Net revenue for the fourth quarter also rose, from R$6.04bn in 2009 to R$11.04bn, aided by increased sales from home appliance firms Casas Bahia and Ponto Frio, which were taken over by GPA in 2009.
One of the key priorities for 2010, mentioned in the firm’s previous end-of-year results, was the technology integration of the acquired organizations. According to GPA, realization of synergies stemming from the integration of the acquired businesses – which started in the first quarter if 2010 and include IT – is “reaching guidance.”
Another highlight in the retailer’s management statement for the last quarter of 2010 is the positive performance of its consolidated e-commerce operation, Nova Pontocom.
The online platform, which includes transactional web sites Extra.com.br, Pontofrio.com.br and CasasBahia.com.br, saw a sales increase of 63%. This compares with performance in physical stores fully integrated to the group and excluding Casas Bahia, where growth reached 31,8% during the period.
“[Nova Pontocom] is an example of a business that unites the best fundamentals of its segment: experienced management, a fully up-to-date integrated e-commerce platform, an ample brand portfolio and a strong bricks-and-mortar connection, all of which backed by GPA’s stature and logistics and IT advantages,” GPA said.
Other customer-facing innovations have been introduced in 2010 by GPA – which was among the first Brazilian retailers to offer customers the ability to shop online, back in 1995 – included the launch of mobile commerce platform Pão de Açúcar Delivery for Android and iPhone handsets, as well as iPod touch and iPad.
Photo credit: Viakenny under the Creative Commons license.