San Diego-based PriceSmart and Grupo Gigante, SA de CV, one of Mexico's largest grocery and retail store chains, today announced the acquisition of the first three properties for their previously announced PriceSmart Mexico joint venture.

The three properties are located in Celaya, Irapuato and Queretaro, all north of Mexico City. PriceSmart Mexico has also reached agreement in principal for the lease of a fourth property within Mexico City.

"With these four properties, PriceSmart Mexico is on track to open two stores prior to the Christmas holiday season, as per our plan," stated Gil Partida, president and CEO of PriceSmart.

Roberto Salvo, executive director of Grupo Gigante, added: "We are very pleased with our progress. We are moving quickly toward our mutual goal of serving the large portion of the Mexican public that has not as yet had easy access to membership warehouse stores."

PriceSmart now operates 26 warehouse clubs in ten countries and two US territories in Central America, the Caribbean and Asia. PriceSmart also licences ten warehouses in China and one in Saipan, Micronesia. The company is currently on track to meet its fiscal 2002 revenue goal of US$650m.