“Mall” — a word cringe-worthy to many shopping-center developers, at least in the U.S. Not so to Carlos Jereissati Filho, president and chief executive officer of Brazil’s Iguatemi Empresa de Shopping Centers SA, who embraces the word.
Jereissati Filho joined his family’s mall business as an intern in 1997, finding “love at first sight,” and assumed his current position in 2005. He took the company public two years later, and has overseen rapid expansion. Today, Iguatemi runs 17 malls across Brazil, including four in São Paulo. Additional openings are planned for December in Tijucas in the Florianópolis metropolitan area, and next year, in Nova Limo, in the Belo Horizonte area. The name Iguatemi has become synonymous with luxury in Brazil, and the company has introduced numerous global brands into the country, an often arduous process in a highly protectionist environment. Yet shopping is only part of a business model built on an experiential approach before experiential shopping was a thing. At Iguatemi properties, customers can work out, take in a movie, enjoy fine dining and more, as well as shop.
The mall industry fuses multiple points of fascination for Jereissati Filho. “It’s about people, it’s about behavior, consumption, design, experience,” he said