J.C. Penney expands in Brazil

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RIO DE JANEIRO--Following the closure of one of Rio de Janeiro's leading retail chains, Mesbla, five of its open spaces in key shopping malls will be filled by Renner Stores, owned by J.C. Penney Co. of Plano, Texas. Renner's goods are mainly clothes aimed at the middle to lower end of the market.

The move is part of Renner's expansion plans in Brazil, including a $20 million investment in four outlets in Sao Paulo in the next two years.

The U.S. retailer entered Brazil in December 1998 through the acquisition of retail chain Renner, founded in Porto Alegre. Renner now has 23 stores, 11 in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, three in Santa Catarina, two in Parana and seven in Sao Paulo.

The local Mesbla chain sold its assets following debts of more than $600 million. The buyer, Sao-Paulo based Mappin, also collapsed, leading to the acquisition by Renner.

Copyright August 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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