By RUTH SHARPE
International supermarket group, Carrefour, headquartered in France, opened its doors to the public on October 27 in spectacular style at the Portimão Retail Park. A global network of supermarkets, Carrefour is the second largest retail group in the world in terms of revenue and sales figures after Wal-Mart.
Hundreds of expectant shoppers gathered outside the store at 9am and, as the store opened, were greeted with a drumming show in the 4,500 square metre store.
Flowers, balloons and pens were handed out to customers as the drumming display, performed by over 20 youngsters from a local music group, continued. As the group marched through the store, cashiers opened the tills and shopping commenced!
Shop assistants whizzed round the store on roller skates answering any customer questions, while others handed out free cakes, sweets and various confectionary.
Carrefour is Europe’s number one hypermarket for distribution and now has nine stores in Portugal since it first arrived in 1990. Gaining in popularity, due to its environmentally friendly policies, Carrefour also places emphasis on supporting, boosting and selling local produce.
The modern layout of the store includes an impressive electronics section, displaying the latest television and sound equipment, a fashion section, a home furnishings area as well as extensive food, drink and personal hygiene departments.
Carrefour boasts that many of its products are the cheapest in the area and attaches a minimum price tag to 700 products, many of which can be discounted if the customer applies for the Carrefour family card. Carrefour also offers certain products from the UK, including loaves of English wholemeal bread (priced at 2.59 euros!)
Carrefour is open Monday-Thursday from 9am-10pm, Fridays and Saturdays from 9am-11pm and on Sundays from 9am-10pm.
Get more for your money
Carrefour is the second hypermarket to open in the Portimão region in two weeks, the new Continente store, which opened on October 16 in the existing shopping centre in Quinta da Malata being the first. There now seems to be an abundance of choice for consumers when choosing where to do their weekly food shop.
The Resident decided to find out which store really is the best value for money.
After visiting seven of the leading supermarkets in the Algarve: Continente, Carrefour, Intermarché, Lidl, Plus, Pingo Doce and Modelo, the price of five essential everyday products were compared to see which supermarket really offers the best value for money:
• Five litre bottle of water.
• Loaf of white bread.
• Box of six eggs.
• Carton of semi-skimmed Vigor milk.
• Kilo of bananas.
Taking into account the different brands and sizes of product, the store that came out as offering the best value was Continente. The most expensive store was Intermarché, followed by Modelo and Pingo Doce. Lidl and Plus offered great prices for buying certain products in bulk, but their goods were limited and noticeably lower in quality.
Continente offered the cheapest prices in three of the five categories (bananas, milk and water) while Carrefour provided the best value for money in only one (eggs).
A carton of semi-skimmed Vigor milk was 70 cents in Continente, 71 cents in Pingo Doce, 72 cents in Modelo, 85 cents in Intermarché and, surprisingly, 91 cents in Carrefour.
A kilo of bananas cost 67 cents in Continente, 69 cents in Carrefour, Plus and Modelo, 74 cents in Lidl, 75 in Pingo Doce and 85 cents in Intermarché.