Luiza Helena Trajano
Brazil
Luiza Helena Trajano
  • President, Magazine Luiza (Retail)
Born Franca, Brazil, 1951. BA, Law, Faculdade de Direito de Franca (1972).
“[F]or us, customers were all the same. We didn’t care who they were ... 'Whether they’re bare-toed in sandals or whether they’re in a suit.' So we learned to respect the customer...”

Summary

Luiza Helena Trajano, president of Magazine Luiza, describes her company’s progression from a local family business to one of the largest retail groups in Brazil. She graduated in 1972 with a BA in Law from the Faculdade de Direito de Franca, and by 1991 had already worked in every division of the company. By the time she took over as President of the company in the mid-1990s, she describes how hyperinflation had hit Brazil. In her interview, she addresses her strategies for growth amidst inflationary turbulence, including introducing the option to purchase with credit. As a result of these successes, the New York Times reported extensively on Magazine Luiza in 2004, characterizing the business as a model for serving the lowest classes with less spending power. Trajano explains the company’s emphasis on serving the lower classes in Brazil while still maintaining the ability to contend with international competitors—a balance emphasized in the company’s slogan: “Think globally, act locally.” She also emphasizes the company’s emphasis on “giving back,” including offering scholarships for college programs.

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Luiza Helena Trajano, president of Magazine Luiza, describes her company’s progression from a local family business to one of the largest retail groups in Brazil. She graduated in 1972 with a BA in Law from the Faculdade de Direito de Franca, and by 1991 had already worked in every division of the company. By the time she took over as President of the company in the mid-1990s, she describes how hyperinflation had hit Brazil. In her interview, she addresses her strategies for growth amidst inflationary turbulence, including introducing the option to purchase with credit. As a result of these successes, the New York Times reported extensively on Magazine Luiza in 2004, characterizing the business as a model for serving the lowest classes with less spending power. Trajano explains the company’s emphasis on serving the lower classes in Brazil while still maintaining the ability to contend with international competitors—a balance emphasized in the company’s slogan: “Think globally, act locally.” She also emphasizes the company’s emphasis on “giving back,” including offering scholarships for college programs.
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Additional Resources

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Interview Citation Format

"Interview with Luiza Helena Trajano, interviewed by Ricardo Reisen de Pinho, December 6, 2013, Creating Emerging Markets Project, Baker Library Historical Collections, Harvard Business School, http://www.hbs.edu/creating-emerging-markets/."