Respecting a market segmentation in the Northeast where the trend is towards “new class C” formats – hypermarkets, "atacarejos" and shopping Clubs – the company focuses on growth. "On the other hand, we also see the opportunity to meet the other market share, in which we believe we fit better with the neighborhood supermarkets and minimarkets. These prioritize practicality and a distinctive mix without leaving aside the quality of services and products," explains the Director.
Proof of this is the opening of the 14th branch, scheduled for March of this year. Strategically located at Avenida Santos Dumont, an important Fortaleza access corridor linking downtown to Praia do Futuro, the store follows the same pattern of newer branches. With all this segmentation, the competition is fierce. To circumvent market barriers, the company heeds external and internal indicators, improving productivity and welcoming the target market’s demands.
To further improve operations, the company recently invested in tracing technology through the company Paripassu. In addition, they utilize IFCO technology, which ensures the washing system of boxes for some perishables. Another recent investment, currently being deployed, is the integration of ERP and TOTVSRMS in all internal areas.
To keep and develop employees Mercadinhos São Luiz has a career plan. Today, one hundred current managers were formed in-house. Ramalho understands that to attract good employees the company must care to be a good place to work. "The people who are selected for São Luiz must have values in line with the company. We believe that, more than technique, these values are the essential factors in professional development. Technique is consequently developed inside," he summarizes.
The quality control model is another important point in strategies to improve the company. Mercadinho São Luiz has more than 30 professionals in the areas of home economics and food engineering, responsible for the technical visits and monitoring of suppliers.
Among its green initiatives, since last year the company has the support of the Social Responsibility Committee, and other specific programs. Costume Sustentável (Sustainable Costume) Project, for example, consists of a collection station -- an external space at one of the shops -- where the customer can take their residues. For each shortage, they get discount on their energy bill. Barreira also highlights a program to minimize waste. "Still on the ‘green area,’ we are developing and selling a project for unsold organic fertilizer from grocery products. We also support project Mesa Brasil which distributes donated groceries to registered charities."
As for the future, Ramalho cuts to the chase, "In 2014, the earnings were around US $151 million. For this year, our goal is to reach over US $173 million. In the last 5 years, our growth was 62.22 percent. The reason for this success is the investment focused on actions that result in advantages that our clients are looking for."