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NY Times article on Brazil's rising consumer class

posted Sep 14, 2013, 7:02 PM by Mara Alexandru   [ updated May 30, 2014, 9:50 PM ]

While the spirit of consumerism may have reached its apogee in the United States first, U.S. consumers certainly have no monopoly on the urge to acquire and keep material things.

There’s an interesting article in today’s New York Times on how consumerism is taking a firm foothold among Brazilians, especially its growing middle class.  The story centers on Luciano Hang, a retail tycoon who is building a network of superstores throughout Brazil in the mold of Sam Walton,  founder of WalMart.

All of this will increase the demand for self-storage in Brazil, especially among Brazilians living in urban areas, where there is a shortage of storage space.

Needless to say, what is true of Brazil is also true of other emerging markets around the world.

See below:

NY Times
BRUSQUE, Brazil — As Brazil’s leaders consider whether consumption should be an antidote for a sluggish economy, a department store tycoon is racing ahead with his answer, taking unfettered American-style consumerism to a gaudy new level.

Proclaiming the gambling mecca Las Vegas as his ideal city, the tycoon, Luciano Hang, has been opening department stores this year at a pace of one every 15 days, from southern Brazil to the Amazon in the northwest. Each cavernous new structure is an homage to American capitalism, with columns intended to evoke the White House and giant replicas of the Statue of Liberty, some more than 100 feet high, stationed at its entrance.

“My philosophy is pro-capitalism, so of course the best symbols for this come from the United States,” said Mr. Hang, who flies around Brazil on a Learjet to visit the nearly 60 stores in his chain, called Havan. “I tell people that we’re about freedom: the freedom to stay open when we choose, the freedom to work for us and the freedom to shop,” he added. “I know this can be controversial, but I think those who disagree with my approach are few and far between.”

Indeed, consumers seem to agree, lured by the low prices and wide selection, if not the theme-park novelty. Inside his flagship store in Brusque, for instance, in the southern state of Santa Catarina, shoppers stop to take pictures of themselves alongside replicas of a red Ferrari and a pink Corvette.

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