Chilean retailer Cencosud has forecast 2004 revenues of almost $2bn due to expansion and the surging domestic economy.

Cencosud, which operates supermarkets in Chile and Argentian, forecast sales up 40% to $1.995bn in 2004, compared to an expected $1.431bn this year.

“This year sales will rise 51% (compared with last year) and for next year we expect (sales of) $1.995bn as new stores come into operation,” Cencosud president Horst Paulmann was quoted by Reuters as saying.

Cencosud recently agreed a deal to purchase the Santa Isabel chain of supermarkets from Dutch retail giant Ahold.