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Traditional mercados will be extinct without reforms, leader says

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Lucas de Galvez market has to face the realities of competition today, a trade leader says. Photo: Roaming Around the World

Mérida, Yucatán — Traditional mercados could disappear by 2050 if vendors don’t modernize, a top official from a food-supply trade group said.

Mercados, like the ones at Lucas de Galvez, Santa Ana or Santiago, can survive in the 21st century if they address competition from chain stores, said Ramiro de Jesus Cavazos Flowers, the president of Canacca, which represents food distributors.

Cavazos Flores is in Mérida for the National Meeting of Supply Center Merchants.

Traditional markets sell 75 percent of the products that Mexicans consume daily, but commercial chains and self-service stores are their strongest competition, he said.

“The excessive growth of department stores, which currently total some 18,000 points of sale, have forced the traditional trader to implement more measures and modernization tasks in their delivery of products to the public,” he said.

Traditional markets are up to 60 percent cheaper than in supermarkets, but they often seem dirty and exist in inefficient locations. So customers are increasingly turning to cleaner and modern shops despite the extra expense, he concluded.

The leader of the Canacca said that the merchants of the country’s supply centers have had to overcome many barriers to compete. The supply chain must also be improved for small vendors, he said.

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