chapter  7
4 Pages

Casas Bahia

ByURVASHI MATHUR

Casas Bahia is a Brazilian retail chain, specializing in home appliances and furniture. Founded in 1957 by Samuel Klein, it is now Brazil’s largest retail chain, with more than 500 stores in 11 states. As of December 2009, a company by the name of Grupo Pao de Acucar now owns the chain. 2 It is also the largest retailer in Latin America based on revenue, and is headquartered in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Samuel Klein began his career selling bath towels, linens and blankets door to door in Sao Caetano do Sul to 200 customers after he escaped from a Nazi concentration camp in his native country, Poland, and fl ed to Brazil. He made his sales by commuting in a horse-drawn cart, and by 1957 his customer base grew to 5,000. That year Klein purchased a store in Sao Caetano. Since most of his customers were from the northeastern state of Bahia, he named the store Casa Bahia. Bahia is the fourth most populous state in Brazil, after Sao Paulo, Minas Gerais, and Rio de Janeiro. The store sold furniture and clothing to customers and relied largely on installment payments and charged up to 5 % monthly interest. He then opened a second store that carried only clothing which was operated by his wife, and changed the name to Casas Bahia.