Whilst the Mexican economy may no longer be a blazing emerging market with just over 2% GDP growth (down from over 6% in 2010), our recent travels to the country have revealed it to be vibrant with a lot to offer to retailers.

We were particularly impressed by the skill and effort put into architectural retail design, a result of the Mexicans’ pride in their rich local heritage, as well as the abundance of young and local talent. This leads to a large amount of exciting retail spaces, including Liverpool department stores (a Mexican department store brand) designed by different architects (Rojkind Arquitectos, Iñaki Echeverria), and impressive retail schemes, as seen in the Palacio del Hierro and the newly opened Parque Toreo Centro Comercial

Infrastructure investment in Mexico is also on the rise, with the planned new international airport of Mexico City designed by Foster + Partners promising to be an innovative game changer in aeronautical design and commercial experience: at over 450,000m² it will be one of the largest airports in the world, attracting leisure, business and trade to the nation’s capital.

Modern retail in the country currently only makes up about half of total retail sales, but the popularity in the market for a range of brands from mid-market H&M, who only entered Mexico in 2012 (with fans queuing for over six hours to witness the occasion), to premium brands such as Bvlgari, indicate that there is a lot of opportunity here.

When visiting Avenida Presidente Masaryk, the Mexican ‘Rodeo Drive’ equivalent, it appeared that the western premium brands already have a firm grip on the country, while very few strong local brands stand out. With that said, we were impressed by the likes of jewellery brand Tane and fashion retailer Pineda Covalin who clearly demonstrate that we can expect more successful home-grown brands in the future.

With an average age of 26 years, and a growing middle class, the demographic make-up of Mexico helps fuel an increasing demand for international and local brands. Consumer attitudes are also changing, with shoppers now perceiving European – and particularly French – brands as more aspirational than US brands.

The second largest Latin American country is a great opportunity and worth considering as part of an international expansion strategy.

Christina Röseler