South American retailer Cencosud has entered the US market by acquiring supermarket chain The Fresh Market.

Cencosud signed a definitive agreement with funds managed by an affiliate of Apollo Global Management to buy 67% of The Fresh Market for $676m.

Based in Greensboro, North Carolina, The Fresh Market offers ‘restaurant-quality’ meals, hand-picked produce, baked goods, fresh-cut flowers, custom-cut meats and other products.

The retailer operates a network of 160 stores across 22 states and generated $1.93bn in revenue last year.

Cencosud CEO Matias Videla said: “The Fresh Market is one of the best supermarkets in the USA.

“(It is) widely recognised by market specialists and customers alike for its customer-centric culture, excellence in fresh produce and memorable shopping experience in its stores.

“We are very pleased to make our first investment in the American market through a partnership of the prestige of Apollo Global Management with extensive experience in the retail market.

“Our team is very excited to start working together to accelerate the growth and value of the company”

The acquisition expands Cencosud’s geographical diversification and gives the company access to US markets.

Following the transaction, The Fresh Market’s existing shareholders, including the Apollo Funds, the Berry family and the company’s management, will retain a minority equity interest in the retailer.

The Fresh Market CEO Jason Potter said: “The Fresh Market has experienced strong financial momentum over the last few years and this partnership with Cencosud will allow the company to further capture market share as we expand our footprint in our core Southeast market and beyond.

“Our entire team looks forward to the partnership with the Paulmann family, Matias and the team at Cencosud.”   

Earlier this week, Cencosud’s Brazilian branch agreed to acquire cash and carry supermarket chain GIGA for R$500m (around $100m).