Brazilians from the new middle class are spending record numbers on consumer goods and services, and are expected to spend $1.5 trillion in 2011. Shopping malls, which have become increasingly popular in the last few years, are mushrooming all over the country. This week, BR Malls acquired four new malls, and has plans to expand to Argentina and Chile. Also this week, Australia's Westfield Group purchased a 50 percent stake for $440 million in Brazil's Almeida Junior Shopping Centers. Companies are opening offices and turning their focus from the US and European markets to Brazil. As this Los Angeles Times article explains, companies disappointed with zero growth in the US are expanding to Brazil where opportunities for new investments abound – particularly with middle class consumers.