November 23, 2016 / 8:51 PM / 3 years ago

INTERVIEW-Via Varejo's Dias upbeat on outlook for Brazil's Black Friday sales

SAO PAULO, Nov 23 (Reuters) - Via Varejo SA expects online channels to propel sales of electronic appliances during Brazil’s version of the popular Black Friday promotional sales day, in what may be the appliance retailer’s first test of the recent takeover of an e-commerce firm, a senior executive said on Wednesday.

Aside from the efficiency gains from CNova Brasil’s integration, Via Varejo is confident that consumers are eagerly waiting for Black Friday discounts, said Flávio Dias, who runs e-commerce activities for Via Varejo, Brazil’s No. 1 appliance retailer.

“The mix of those factors - repressed demand and the CNova integration, should help lift sales” during Black Friday, Dias said.

Black Friday, a part of Thanksgiving celebrations in the U.S., was adopted in Brazil in recent years. According to retail industry group, which is promoting the date in the country, sales are expected to rise 34 percent to about 2 billion reais ($589.9 million) this year on an annual basis.

Units, a blend of Via Varejo’s common and preferred stock, rose 1.5 percent to 8.26 reais on Wednesday, extending year-to-date gains to 153 percent.

Via Varejo is owned by GPA SA, Brazil’s largest diversified retailer.

Earlier this month, GPA announced it was evaluating strategic options for Via Varejo, indicating that it is considering to shift focus towards food retailing. Food sales are expected to recover faster than those of appliances as Brazil’s economy recovers from the longest and harshest recession in eight decades.

$1 = 3.3903 reais Reporting by Paula Laier; Writing by Ana Mano; Editing by Guillermo Parra-Bernal, Bernard Orr

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