SAO PAULO, July 25 (Reuters) - Via Varejo SA, Brazil's largest appliance retailer, is expanding premium stores targeting wealthy customers in a bid to improve results as controlling shareholder Casino Guichard Perrachon SA tries to find a buyer for the company.
Via Varejo increased its premium stores to 51 from 36 in the second quarter and may reach 100 stores aimed at wealthy customers in the coming months, reaching around 10 percent of its network of 970 stores. The premium stores compete with Fast Shop, a local premium appliance retailer with 100 stores.
Second-quarter sales in Via Varejo's premium stores rose 32 percent at locations open for at least twelve months, director Thiago Pasqua said in an interview. The premium stores sell higher value products, on average costing 40 percent more than in its standard format, Pasqua said.
France's Casino, which owns the Via Varejo stake through its Brazilian subsidiary GPA SA, has failed to attract strong interest from strategic investors in the asset sale, which has dragged on since November. Casino expects interest to grow as results improve and Via Varejo's new strategy gains traction.
The appliance retailer's same-store sales grew 10.8 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier, compared with 2.6 percent growth in the first quarter. (Writing by Tatiana Bautzer, editing by Louise Heavens)