Alfredo Chedraui Obeso, Head Of Mexican Wal-Mart Competitor, Now A Billionaire

The Chedraui logo promises “It costs less”
For years now, Alfredo Chedraui Obeso of Mexico
has been keeping a low profile, quietly overseeing
the family business his grandparents started back
in 1920. Today, thanks to the growing chain of
hypermarkets–Wal-Mart-esque mega-stores in
Mexico and the American Southwest–Chedraui
Obeso joins the billionaires club.
A recent pop in the publicly-traded Grupo Comercial
Chedraui, S.A.B. de C.V. plus past stock sales
pushes Chedraui Obeso to a net worth of $1
billion. He owns 30.3% of the company, which went
public on the Mexican stock exchange in May 2010.
As co-president, together with his brother Jose
Antonio, this new billionaire has
overseen aggressive expansion of the retail empire,
which had sales of US $4.1 billion in 2011.
The company’s strategy is simple and much like
Wal-Mart’s: Promise low prices. In Mexico (as in the
U.S.), mom-and-pop shops can’t compete on price
with mega-stores like the Chedrauis’ three brands:
Chedraui, department stores with food, electronics,
and clothing in cities with at least 100,000 people;
Super Chedraui, slimmed-down stores aimed at
smaller cities; and El Super, mega-stores aimed at
the buy-happy consumer in the U.S. At the end of
2012 Chedraui had 198 stores.
Chedraui is a family business and family wealth:
the clan owns 84% of the stock. After Alfredo,
brother Jose Antonio Chedraui Obeso is the second
largest stockholder; his shares, however, are worth
less than $1 billion. The two brothers have three
sons who are also stockholders.
The founders of the chain were Lebanese
immigrants to Mexico. Their original store in
Xalapa, Veracruz, sold fabric, clothes, and sewing
supplies and was called El Puerto de Beyrouth–a
creative translation into Spanish of “Beirut.” It was
the new billionaire’s father, Antonio Chedraui
Charam, who began to expand the business,
building the first multi-department store in 1970. By
1985, the business had expanded to six stores.
Then chain continued to grow, and in 1995 invested
in El Súper, a chain of hypermarkets in Southern
California that caters to Mexican-Americans. In
2005, Grupo Comercial Chedraui bought 29 stores in
Mexico from Carrefour; three years later the
company purchased seven Gigante stores in the
American southwest.

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17 thoughts on “Alfredo Chedraui Obeso, Head Of Mexican Wal-Mart Competitor, Now A Billionaire

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