Via Varejo buys startup i9XP, aims to expand base of sellers in the marketplace By Reuters

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© Reuters. (Blank Headline Received)

By Aluisio Alves

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Via Varejo (SA 🙂 announced on Thursday the purchase of 100% of the startup specializing in e-commerce for the i9XP retailer, seeking to accelerate the entry of new sellers into its marketplace.

The retailer’s shares were among the highest today, with an advance of 2.8% to R $ 17.98 at 13h51.

In a statement, Via Varejo stated that the movement “is part of the strategy for accelerating digital transformation”. The amount of the transaction has not been revealed.

Based in São Paulo, i9XP has 155 employees, 120 of which are developers, one of the characteristics that motivated the acquisition, said Via Varejo’s chief executive, Roberto Fulcherberguer.

According to the executive, the purchase will close deficiencies that currently prevent Via Varejo from admitting to its marketplace a greater volume of sellers.

“Why don’t I have 30,000 ‘sellers’ yet? Because my technology doesn’t allow it,” Fulcherberguer told Reuters.

Currently, the company that owns the Casas Bahia and Ponto Frio brands has about 8 thousand salespeople in its marketplace and has expanded this base by around 600 new per month.

The announcement illustrates the intense movement of large Brazilian retail companies to strengthen their e-commerce structures, a segment that gained momentum this year in the wake of social isolation measures to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, which closed physical stores for months.

One of Via Varejo’s biggest competitors, Magazine Luiza (SA 🙂 has also announced several acquisitions in the sector, seeking to expand the business capacity of the 32 thousand sellers registered in its marketplace.

Via Varejo itself announced in April, specialized in urban logistics solutions and carrier connections. In May, it completed the acquisition of fintech BanQi.

Although he did not mention a deadline for expanding his current base, Fulcherberguer said the company believes it will have an adequate assortment when it has around “15,000 good sellers” on the platform. The expectation is that the i9XP will be fully integrated with Via Varejo in the first quarter of 2021.

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