Brazilians flood Miami market to shop

Miami HeraldFebruary 15, 2011 

Suddenly, everything seems to be coming up Brazilian.

President Barack Obama will visit Brazil during his first South American trip in March and Brazil is Florida’s top trading partner. But Brazilians are also snapping up beachfront luxury properties and downtown Miami condos, investing in everything from real estate to Burger King, and shopping voraciously.

It’s as if a “swarm of grasshoppers” has descended on South Florida, chomping through bargains from Dadeland to Sawgrass Mills, one tour operator says.

“The trend now is everybody comes to shop, shop, shop,’’ said Claudia Menezes, of Pegasus Transportation, which operates a fleet of buses for conventional tours as well as the shopping excursions that are so popular with Brazilians. “They’re buying up everything from $10 creams at Victoria’s Secret to Luis Vuitton and Prada.’’

Testimony to Brazilian consumerism: When Pegasus buses return Brazilians to the airport for their flights home, Menezes says, they have to put on extra trailers behind to haul the loot.

To keep the Brazilian visitors coming, American Airlines now offers 52 flights a week to Brazil from Miami International Airport.

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