When you think of Colombia, what’s the first word that comes to mind? Now, have you ever been to Colombia?
One of the advantages of travel is being able to see first-hand how the world really is as opposed to how you’re told it is. Retail is one of those areas that can help “paint the picture” as it were of an overall general progress of a nation. It is a broad reflection of a country’s economy and infrastructure – and sometimes you’ll find yourself to be even surprised that what you thought was one way turns out to not only be different that your expectations, but even beyond what’s in your own backyard. (Airports are like that too. If you look at say LaGuardia then compare it to some of the airports found in Asia today there simply is no comparison).
Here are some photos I took earlier this year in Medellin while walking through a well known mall in the city. You’ll see the retail shops of certain Colombian brands you may have not even know existed. You’ll also see UK and American brands. The Banana Republic in this mall is nicer that the one at the mall in my area of Atlanta.
Brands are crossing borders into territory they used to never be seen in. And some of these brands are able to source production “locally” and sell it locally since Colombia is a producer of apparel.
The retail scene is Colombia is on the move and no doubt this is also happening in other key Latin American cities. The interesting thing is that the shelf pricing is about the same as in the USA but the general income levels are not.
In any event, getting yourself to see the world in person gives you a perspective on how things are and how things move that nothing else can replace.