Spanish retailer Mercadona is to open its first supermarket in Portugal in July of next year, the company has confirmed.
Speaking to Dinheiro Vivo, the company’s head of European affairs, Elena Aldana, said that the 10 stores initially planned will be opened during the second half of 2019, in the districts of Braga, Porto and Aveiro.
Aldana did not specify the location of the first outlet, but said that it will be at one of the four locations initially announced (Vila Nova de Gaia, Matosinhos, Maia and Gondomar).
She added that Mercadona plans to gradually expand its network in Portugal, pointing out that “it does not make sense to open stores that are far apart in geographical terms”.
The districts of Braga, Viana do Castelo, Coimbra are seen as possible options for future store development, as is the metropolitan area of Lisbon.
Mercadona plans to invest €100 million in the first phase of the roll-out of its activities in Portugal.
The Spanish retailer has also established a co-innovation Centre in Matosinhos, a micro-laboratory to test and define the assortment that it will offer in the Portuguese market.
According to Aldana, the range will be defined by March/April 2018, but decisions have already been reached on the wines and cheeses the stores will stock, following market research conducted with consumers. The majority of the wine range will be Portuguese in origin.
Mercadona has also announced the construction of a storage centre in Póvoa do Varzim, covering a total area of 50,000 square meters.
The retailer estimates it will purchase €70 million worth of Portuguese products for its stores in Spain this year, up from €63 million last year and €56 million in 2016.
Mercadona's rivals are taking note.
In the prospectus for its IPO, rival Sonae MC said it believes that an aggressive entry strategy could intensify price competition in the sector, although Mercadona's plans are reportedly small-scale.
It also claims that the nationwide coverage of market leaders Sonae MC and Jerónimo Martins, coupled with a firm footprint of discounters, limits Mercadona’s potential short- to mid-term impact in the Portuguese food retail market.
© 2018 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Branislav Pekic. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine