Chilean retailer D&S has said it plans to invest US$100m in new supermarkets in 2004.

D&S, which has a 30.4% market share, hopes the expansion will help it compete with rivals Jumbo and Carrefour.

“We will expand by opening or renting new outlets. The idea is to invest $100m,” Cristobal Lira, director of D&S, was quoted by Reuters as saying.

Lira said the company, which operates 62 supermarkets, had been urged on by a recent recovery in consumer spending and improved prospects for the future.

“We have seen a recovery in consumer spending (over recent months). This affects not only supermarkets but other (retail) sectors too…. The third quarter is looking good,” Lira said.