Portugal's Alisuper Hit With Financial Difficulties
After being saved from bankruptcy by the Nogueira Group in 2012, Portuguese supermarket chain Alisuper is once again faced with financial problems.
Suppliers are limiting the supply to stores due to unpaid bills, while the 340 employees are faced with wage delays, according to the Trade Union of the Retail, Offices and Services Workers of Portugal (CESP).
This has led to the issue being brought up before Parliament.
Owner José Nogueira does not deny the existence of problems, but adds that they are in the resolution process and that the viability of the supermarket chain is not in question. In an interview for daily Expresso, he stressed that "sales are good, but market conditions are very difficult, people are not consuming".
Significantly 43 of the 49 Alisuper stores (all are of small and medium size) are located in the Algarve region which is very seasonal and depends heavily on summer holidays, with sales dropping heavily in the period September to April.
According to Nogueira, the only solution is to close 18 stores in Algarve during the colder months of the year. He is also considering opening more stores in the north of Portugal to offset the negative impact of the seasonal nature of tourism in the Algarve.
Market analysts BPI believe that the short-time difficulties of the small food retail chain may lead to a consolidation trend in the sector in Portugal, led by retailers Jerónimo Martins and Sonae.
Last year, Alisuper reported sales of €30 million, a slight increase over the €27.5 million in 2013.
© 2015 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Branislav Pekic