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Jerónimo Martins opens its 1,000th store in Colombia

• Jerónimo Martins is the largest Portuguese investor in Colombia
• Ara among the Top 20 biggest companies in the country
• In the first nine months of the year, the chain of neighbourhood stores posted sales of 1.291 billion euros (7% of Group sales) and is expected to close 2022 with more than 13,000 employees

Lisbon, 28 November 2022 - This past Saturday, 26 November, the Jerónimo Martins Group inaugurated its 1,000th Ara store in the city of Cartagena, Colombia. The opening of the store is part of Ara's expansion strategy in the country, where it already has a presence in three regions. The company expects to close the year with a total of between 230 to 250 new stores, compared to the previous year.

Pedro Leandro, Managing Director of Ara, said that “each store opening for us is another step in our commitment to Colombian families: to become part of the neighbourhood and to be ever closer to people’s homes, bringing quality and variety to their everyday purchases, always at the lowest prices”.

Since early Saturday morning many families from Cartagena were at the entrance of the store waiting for it to open. The doors to the store opened at 10am amidst an atmosphere of celebration and joy that characterises the Colombians and Ara. The first customer had been queuing at the door since 3am to secure their place for the opening of this store, a historic milestone in Ara's growth in the country.

Ara is a chain of neighbourhood stores with an assortment and store environment tailored to the Colombian consumer. With an average sales area of 350m2, its fundamental pillars are competitive prices, proximity and a quality assortment that covers the essential needs of the average Colombian family, in which its Private Brands and Perishables are of particular note.

This chain of neighbourhood stores partners with over 500 Colombian suppliers and establishes long-term relationships with local suppliers to ensure maximum freshness, boosting the growth of its business partners and fostering local job creation.

In 2011 the Group announced that Colombia would be its new investment destination and, in March 2013, Ara opened its first stores and a distribution centre, in Pereira, in the Coffee-Growing Region. Since then, aggregate investment in the country (capex) has been around 900 million euros. Ara is currently present in three regions (the Coffee-Growing Region, the Caribbean Coast and Bogotá), and will close the year with more than 13,000 employees. The Jerónimo Martins Group is the largest Portuguese investor in Colombia and Ara is among the Top 20 largest companies in the country, in terms of sales and number of employees.

Ara’s support to its surrounding communities began in its first year of activity with the signing of a cooperation agreement with Instituto Colombiano do Bem-estar Familiar (Colombian Institute of Family Welfare) to supply food to children from underprivileged neighbourhoods through “Community Mothers”, women trained and authorised to look after the children of the “bairro” (neighbourhood). By the end of 2013, Ara was providing support for around 1,000 children. In 2021, Ara channelled around 500,000 euros to social support projects and donated more than 220 tonnes of food.

In the first nine months of 2022, Ara invested 89 million euros, opened 86 stores, and recorded a turnover of around €1.3 billion euros, positioning itself as the Group's third biggest contributor to sales.

The opening of the 1,000th Ara store is another important milestone in a year in which the Jerónimo Martins Group celebrates its 230th anniversary.