Companies including Forever 21, Gap and Banana Republic recently announced they will be opening stores or concessions in November 2013.
Fashion Sector In Costa Rica
San José is ranked 4th of Latin America cities for its high quality of life*. Costa Ricans familiar
with international fashion houses are increasingly demanding more fashion labels
Costa Rica has enjoyed a stable economic growth over the last few decades and as such has
attracted one of the highest levels of foreign direct investment per capita in Latin America.
The fashion retail industry in Costa Rica is prominent, some of the most recognised brands in-
country include: Massimo Dutti, Carolina Herrera, Tommy Hilfiger, Hugo Boss, Salvatore
Ferragamo, Zara, Tiffany, Cartier, Max Mara, and Christian Dior.
Additionally, companies including Forever 21, Gap and Banana Republic recently announced
they will be opening stores or concessions in November 2013. El Salvadorian owned department
store Siman Corporation also reported a new alliance with the Spanish group Inditex, and its
intentions to bring Bershka, Pull & Bear, Stradivarius and Oysho brands into the market soon.
In Costa Rica the majority of retail is focused on malls, generally located on the outskirts of large
towns and cities, following the American trend. 90% of Costa Ricans visit malls on a weekly
basis especially during the weekend*. As a result of this trend, there was an increase of 34%
between the first semester of 2011 and the first semester of 2012 on the total square metres built
on malls in the country.
The Association Agreement between the European Union and Central America could be used as
a platform to bring in British brands to the market, and make them more visible and aspirational
to Costa Ricans.
There is a market for high-brand accessories. Perfumes, makeup or different accessories from
high fashion houses could prove successful, giving the shoppers the brand name without
necessarily having to pay the prices of the newest and most expensive collections.
Several new malls are opening in the Central valley, giving the possibility for British brands to
establish concept stores in those, or selling their products by well-known multiband stores.
Latest export opportunities in Clothing, Footwear & Fashion
Latest export opportunities in Costa Rica
Getting into the market
When conducting business in Costa Rica we recommend you invest in local representation in the
form of an agent or distributor; this is a relatively small market where personal relationships are
The most important criteria in selecting the local representation is to know their logistic
capability – how quickly they can get new lines into the market and react to what is and isn´t
Costa Rica has a well-developed legal system, which is independent of the executive branch of
the government. Expert legal advice is recommended at the early stages of any investment study.
More about doing business in Costa Rica
Market intelligence is critical when doing business overseas, and UKTI can provide bespoke
market research and support during overseas visits though our chargeable Overseas Market
Introduction Service (OMIS).
To commission research or for general advice about the market, get in touch with our specialists
in country - or contact your local international trade team.
ξ Kate Cruse, British Embassy San José. Tel: (506) 2258 2025 or email:
ξ Patricia Amrhein, British Embassy San José. Tel: (506) 2258 2025 or email:
UKTI runs a range of events for exporters, including seminars in the UK, trade missions to
overseas markets and support for attendance at overseas trade shows.
Latest events in Clothing, Footwear & Fashion sector
Costa Rica Fashion Week
Date: August 2013
More about OMIS and other UKTI services for exporters