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Fascinating story in the BBC about Brazil and its growth as a world power…and how, in many ways, its fortunes can be tied to the ambitions of one of its major supermarket chains, Pao de Acucar – which a decade ago set itself the very public goal of developing “supermarkets worthy of the First World.”

Those were high ambitions for a company that then existed in a third world nation, but today, the BBC notes, Brazil is one of the “Bric” countries – “a handy acronym with Russia, India and China as one of the world's biggest emerging economies.”

During that time, the BBC writes, Pao de Acucar has grown to 147 stores under its own name that cater to upscale shoppers, plus another 434 stores under other names that serve less affluent shoppers. The company has a 13.3 percent market share and is the second biggest retailer in Brazil.

Of course, with that growth came global interest…and the once family-owned company now is owned by France’s Casino. “Globalisation,” the BBC< writes, “means that Brazilian firms can now compete internationally with developed-country rivals - but it also means that if you are successful, the ‘First World’ may come looking for a piece of the action.”

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