Shopping the Globe: São Paulo
Thais Rosa in Retail, Shopping the Globe

The J.K. Iguatemi shopping mall in São Paulo, Brasil. Image source

We are all witnessing a global migration of brands. For years we’ve found international brands in cities like London, Tokyo, and Paris; now we see them in Kuwait, Seoul and Beijing, too. In my own home city of São Paulo, Brasil, we love global brands, and I’m thrilled that I can now shop at Zara, Sephora, and Topshop. These names are becoming familiar in almost every major metropolitan area around the world.

Setting up shop in a new market is not easy, though. Even in Brasil – recently ranked as the #1 country in A.T. Kearney’s Global Retail Development Index for the third year in a row – these new stores don’t just open overnight, though they are now arriving in greater numbers. To be global, you must be local first. Brands need to understand what local consumers crave, and what cultural traditions we follow. Many of these global brands are (smartly!) adapting their store prototypes and product mixes for the unique culture of Brasil. They’re learning how to adjust to our business practices too, not to mention our super high taxes. International expansion requires a lot of local know-how.

I’m excited to be part of a global team at Gensler that has recently been evaluating the retail market in three rapidly growing cities: São Paulo, Bangalore, and Shanghai. My colleagues and I live and work in these cities, and have years of experience helping brands expand, adapt, and succeed. Earlier this week I shared some insights about São Paulo retail on the first of three webinars that we’re calling Shopping the Globe. Barry Bourbon and I discussed consumer trends, the ways retailers are addressing these trends, business practices, and opportunities for global retail brands. In the coming weeks my colleagues in Bangalore and Shanghai will share their own insights, too.

Click to watch a recording of our 25-minute webinar about retail in São Paulo. And don’t forget to register for the remaining live online presentations in our Shopping the Globe series:

Shopping the Globe: Bangalore
Wednesday, January 8, 2014 11am EST / 4pm GMT
Click here to register for the Bangalore webinar.

Shopping the Globe: Shanghai
Tuesday, February 18, 2014 11am EST / 4pm GMT
Click here to register for the Shanghai webinar.

Thais Rosa is an interior designer and an associate in São Paulo, Brazil. Specializing in retail design, Thais brings a unique global perspective to each client she partners with. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Milan, Italy, before joining Gensler’s London office in 2006. She has designed projects in the U.K., Kuwait, Russia and Brazil; and in 2011, Thais helped to open Gensler’s São Paulo office. Contact her at
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