Many modern grocery retailers entered new geographic areas and communities over the review period, albeit not at the pace of discounters. To date, the channel has been dominated by a single brand, Aprezio, launched by the leading retailer Ramos Business Group (Grupo Ramos) in 2012, although initially not as successful as supermarkets and hypermarkets, including those owned and operated by the same player.
Despite continuous growth in the internet retailing channel, the majority of the activity consists of cross-border purchases which are shipped via courier to consumers in the country. One of the few grocers operating in the e-commerce channel is Al Super, although its coverage remains limited to select areas within the capital city of Santo Domingo.
Centro Cuesta Nacional opened a new Jumbo hypermarket in San Isidro during the review period, while Hipermercado Olé also invested in three new openings, whilst announcing plans for another opening in the eastern part of the country, most likely for 2019. The growth of supermarkets slowed somewhat, with the notable exception of Supermercado Bravo.
Ramos Business Group (Grupo Ramos) remained the leader in modern grocery retailers in 2018. Grupo Ramos operates more than 50 commercial outlets throughout the country, including its leading hypermarket, La Sirena (with 25 locations in the country) and eight grocery stores (Supermercados Pola).
Grupo Ramos is also the only player within the discounter channel, having ventured into this channel in 2012 with the opening of its first Aprezio store. While its discounter outlets have not been as successful as its supermarkets and hypermarkets, Grupo Ramos has been investing more in the channel to further build the Aprezio brand among consumers.
The number of forecourt retailers operating in the country continues to increase as strong economic growth has had a positive impact on car ownership in recent years. As more drivers are on the road, consumer demand for convenient shopping at petrol stations has increased, fuelling retail sales at both independent and chained forecourt retailers.
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