October 1998


  • World News Today... daily headlines and abstracts
  • Home Depot Launches Home Improvement Stores in South America
  • Ruby Tuesday's Global Expansion Takes Them to South America
  • Benihana Makes Move into South America
  • Hilton Builds Hotel in Moscow
  • Vietnam Market Ripe for Commercial/Industrial Insurance
  • Egyptian Tourism in Sharp Decline
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  • ATLANTA, Georgia -- USA -- The world's largest home improvement retail chain, Home Depot, opened its first store outside of North America last month. This marks the company's first steps towards long-term global growth, according to the company's President/CEO, Arthur Blank. The first of two stores opened in Santiago, Chile, on August 27th; the second store will open its doors to the public in November. Home Depot's entry into the Chilean market was facilitated by a joint venture with Falabella, a leading department store retailer in Chile. Home Depot plans to add three more stores in Chile next year and will launch its first store in Buenos Aires, Argentina -- while it continues to expand its market position at home in the USA.

    Stores outside the USA will stock merchandise from local vendors and suppliers in an effort to support local industry. Management will be comprised of local nationals and US expatriates. Home Depot in S. America will continue to foster its company's mission of delivering exceptional customer service, everyday low prices and a broad selection of merchandise.

    This retailer shows continued promise and ingenuity and has been named "America's Most Admired Specialty Retailer" by Fortune magazine for five consecutive years. Its stock is publicly traded (NYSE:HD). Home Depot presently operates 690 stores.

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    MARYVILLE, Tennessee -- USA -- Ruby Tuesday, Inc. continues to move forward with their global expansion efforts, initiated in 1997, and announced their agreement this week (October 7) with RT Chile Limitada to open six Ruby Tuesday restaurants in Chile, Argentina and Peru over the next five years. Ruby Tuesday has an existing agreement with Jardine Pacific Restaurant Group, Ltd., to open 19 Ruby Tuesday restaurants in Asia -- in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

    Ruby Tuesday is one of the leading companies in the US$10 bar and grill segment of casual dining in the USA market.

    The company's recently reported first quarter earnings continues its positive trend; now for ten consecutive quarters, they have met or exceeded their goal to grow earnings per share 15% - 20%. Its stock is publicly traded (NYSE:RI). Ruby Tuesday owns and operates more than 390 restauranats in the US and abroad, including restaurants under the names of Mozzarella's American Cafe and Tia's Tex-Mex.

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    MIAMI, Florida -- USA -- Another long-standing US restaurant chain, Benihana, Inc. announced plans to launch into South America through an agreement with the Peruvian investment group, Inversiones Misilero. This group is made up of four partners, one of whom owns the rights to the Tony Roma's brand in Peru, as well. The first of two Benihana restaurants will open in Lima next summer.

    Benihana has 15 franchised restaurants, most in the U.S., one in Bogota, Colombia and another in the Carribean, in Aruba. And they operate 49 Teppenyaki restaurants.

    According to Joel Schwartz, President of Benihana, "South America is an area that can lend itself well to franchising of our restaurants, and we are investigating other possible markets in that area. Peru is a country with a stable economy and growing affluence, which is the kind of market we look for. We are very excited about this partnership."

    Benihana is a Japanese-style steakhouse, with food prepared by entertaining, deft tableside chefs.

    (Source: YOUR LINK HERE)

    MOSCOW, Russia -- Despite current economic turmoil in Russia, Hilton International has confidence in Russia's economic recovery. Hilton plans to build a high-profile, 300-room 5-star hotel in that city, a project worth US$50 million. The hotel will be located near the old Arbat square in central Moscow and will be ready for business by the year 2000. The hotel will be co-owned by Sokolniki, a holding company, but will be managed by Hilton.

    Hilton joins other leading international hotel chains in Moscow, including Holiday Inn, Sheraton, Marriott, Kempinski, Radisson, Renaisance, Novotel and Intercontinental.
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    HANOI, Vietnam -- The UK's leading insurance group, Royal and SunAlliance opened two representative offices in Vietnam this week -- the first in Hanoi, the second in Ho Chi Minh City. While insurance requirements in the country are minimal right now, expectations are that the industry will grow as the economy matures. The greatest potential is seen initially in commerical and industrial insurance; personal insurance is not considered a strong opportunity until Vietnam's urban population becomes more affluent.

    Vietnam's insurance industry is currently valued at about US$175 million in premiums/year. And right now, there are five state-owned firms and two joint-ventures. To date, there are no 100% foreign-owned insurance companies. With the two new representative offices, SunAlliance hopes that this is a first step in that direction.
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    CAIRO, Egypt -- According to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, the US$4 billion a year tourism industry in Egypt is on an upswing since the industry took a significant tumble following the November 1997 Luxor massacre of 58 foreign tourists. However, according to western industry experts, Egypt has lost more than US$700 million a year from tourism declines, and had 40% fewer tourists in the first half of 1998, compared with foreign visitors last year during the same time period.
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    Updated 11/9/98