Portuguese retailers plan to invest some €500 million over the next two years to open more than 100 new proximity stores across the country.
Companies such as Sonae, Auchan, Intermarché and Mercadona plan to expand their networks, both in the main markets, such as the districts of Lisbon, Porto and Setúbal, and in other areas across the country.
Speaking to daily Expresso, the director general of the Portuguese Association of Distribution Companies (APED), Gonçalo Lobo Xavier, said that Portugal lags behind other European countries regarding the density of stores per inhabitant.
Citing Nielsen data, Lobo Xavier pointed out that Portugal has 142 stores per one million inhabitants, compared to 428 in Germany or 443 in Austria.
He also mentioned a European Commission study that indicates that the top five players in Portugal account for 67% of the market, compared to 75% in Sweden, 83% in Denmark, and 76% in Belgium.
Market leader Sonae MC plans to open 50 to 60 Continente Bom Dia (proximity supermarkets) and between four and eight Continente Modelo stores (large supermarkets). It currently operates 567 stores across various formats (Continente, Modelo, Bom Dia and Meu Super).
France’s Auchan is aiming to open 25 to 30 more MyAuchan stores, expanding to the Greater Porto area. It has 72 stores, of which 55 are directly owned (Jumbo hypermarkets) and 17 franchised (Pão de Açúcar and MyAuchan).
Despite the recent turbulence around its shareholder structure, the outcome of which is still difficult to predict at this time, the Portuguese market continues to be of strategic importance to Spain’s DIA group.
The group continues to focus on its convenience store format, Minipreço Express, rolled out in Q4 2018, and it already has 45 stores. DIA operates 608 stores in Portugal, of which 305 are directly owned and 303 franchised.
Jerónimo Martins is concentrating its efforts on the Pingo Doce & Go concept, a small store format based around service stations and petrol stations. The Portuguese retail group, which has 442 stores across the country (of which 23 are franchised), has not released data on investments or how many stores it plans to open in 2019.
Intermarché (owned by France’s Les Mousquetaires), which has so far concentrated its efforts on peripheral areas of Portugal with low population densities, is now eyeing Lisbon and Porto.
Its network consists of 249 stores directly managed by independent entrepreneurs, and the group is planning to open 67 more over the next five years.
E.Leclerc has so far been focused on Central and Northern Portugal, where it has 21 hypermarkets, and, for the time being, plans to continue expanding in the same areas.
In terms of the discounters, Lidl ended 2018 with 250 stores in Portugal, having added three since the start of 2019. Aldi opened its 64th store in December and is targeting cities where it is not already present.
As well as further store openings by existing players, the year 2019 will also be marked by the entry of Spain’s Mercadona, which plans to open its first ten stores in Portugal in 2019.
© 2019 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Branislav Pekic. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.