Profiting from stable economic growth, Panama’s retail sector has continued to expand over the past two years. The entry of luxury brands to the local market has diversified the retail landscape while growing demand for retail space has also fuelled the construction boom. The sector’s outlook is promising, with a number of indicators pointing toward continued growth in retail consumption. Between 2007 and 2010 poverty levels decreased by 11%, while the middle class, which now represents nearly 40% of Panamanian society, according to World Bank statistics, grew by 10%. The country also boasts the lowest level of inflation in Central America, with a rate of 2.6% at end-2014. Moreover, it has experienced a significant increase in the number of foreign residents, which have become an important high-end target for retail chains. Buoyed by the rising popularity of e-commerce among local consumers, the online retail market is particularly promising.
This chapter features an interview with Abdul Waked, President, Grupo Wisa.