Spain's supermarket sector is highly competitive, boasting both domestic retail powerhouses such as Mercadona, DIA and El Corte Inglés, international players such as Carrefour, Lidl and Aldi, as well as numerous smaller, regional chains.
In Spain, as in many other countries, consumers are very sensitive to price and are always on the lookout for the best deals. This has led to fierce price competition among supermarkets, as grocers strive to offer the lowest prices in order to attract and retain customers.
In addition to price competition, supermarkets in Spain also engage in a variety of other strategies to differentiate themselves from their competitors, such as offering a wide range of private-label products, investing heavily in their fresh offering, providing high-quality customer service, and developing omnichannel solutions.
Here's an overview of the top ten supermarket retail chains in Spain, according to their most recently-available full-year turnover. All data is supplied by Retail-Index (www.retail-index.com).
Turnover: €25.26 billion (2021)
Spanish retailer Mercadona was founded in 1977 by Grupo Cárnicas Roig (Butcher Group Roig). The company operates 1,633 stores in Spain (along with 29 stores in Portugal). Juan Roig holds the position of CEO, with the retailer boasting a team of 95,800 employees.
Mercadona’s annual turnover in 2021 was €25.26 billion, according to Retail-Index, while its market share stood at 25.4% as of December 2022, according to Kantar data. It operates a number of private label brands, including Hacendado (food), Bosque Verde (household), Deliplus (personal care), and Compy (pet products).
2. El Corte Inglés
Turnover: €9.33 billion (2021)
Spanish department store chain El Corte Inglés was founded in 1940. It currently operates more than 1,750 stores across a wide variety of banners, including El Corte Inglés, supermarket chains Hipercor and Supercor, and clothing stores Sfera and Sportown.
The group’s turnover in 2021 was €9.33 billion, according to Retail-Index. Marta Álvarez is the CEO of El Corte Inglés, and heads up a team of 79,800 employees. Its private label brands include personal care brand Veckia, organic brand Special Line, and the deluxe El Corte Inglés Selection, among others.
Turnover: €8.22 billion (2021)
French retailer Carrefour opened its first store in Spain in 1973. It operates 2,307 stores across the country under a variety of different banners, including the Carrefour hypermarket brand, low-price supermarket Supeco, and Carrefour Express supermarkets and proximity stores, among others.
The retailer’s annual revenue was €8.22 billion in 2021, while it held a 9.7% market share as of December 2022, according to Kantar. It has a team of 58,500 employees, under the leadership of Alexandre de Palmas, Carrefour Spain’s CEO.
Its private labels include the vegan range Carrefour Veggie and premium brand Carrefour Selección, as well as non-food varieties, such as clothing brand Tex and the eco-friendly cleaning and personal care range Carrefour Eco-Planet.
Turnover: €4.27 billion (2021)
Eroski was founded in 1969 in the Basque Country, and currently operates 1,646 stores with a team of 28,353 employees, headed up by CEO Agustin Markaide. It operates the Eroski hypermarket banner, Caprabo supermarkets, and sports chain Forum Sport, among others.
The group reported a turnover of €4.27 billion in 2021, holding a 4.2% market share as of December 2022, according to Kantar data. Eroski’s private labels include Eroski Contigo, organic range Eroski Bio, and personal care line Belle.
Turnover: €4.84 billion (2021)
Lidl opened its first store in Spain in 1994, and currently operates 650 stores in the country, with a team of 17,500 employees headed up by CEO Claus Grande Sánchez.
Its annual turnover in Spain stood at €4.84 billion in 2021, with the discounter holding a 5.9% market share as of December 2022, according to Kantar data.
Private label brands operated by the group include dairy brand Milbona, the Vemondo vegan and vegetarian range, prepared foods range Chef Select, and personal care line Cien, among others.
Turnover: €3.26 billion (2021, estimated)
Auchan Retail opened its first store in Spain in 1981, and currently boasts a network of 363 outlets. The group reported an estimated annual turnover of €3.26 billion in 2021, according to Retail-Index.
The group, which trades under the Alcampo brand, held a 3.2% market share as of December 2022, according to Kantar data. Its private labels include the Bio organic range, Cosmia personal care range, and toy brand One Two Fun.
Turnover: €3.14 billion (2021)
Cooperative retailer Consum was founded in 1975 in Valencia, and currently operates 830 stores along Spain’s east coast. General manager Juan Luis Durich heads up a team of 18,212 employees at the retailer, which reported an annual turnover of €3.14 billion in 2021. As of December 2022, Consum held a market share of 4.4%.
Turnover: €2.17 billion (2020)
DIA was founded in 1979 in Madrid, and currently operates 3,789 stores under different retail banners, such as personal care retailer Clarel, and El Árbol, as well as its signature supermarket brand. It also operates the Minipreço banner in Portugal.
With a team of 23,059 employees, DIA's net annual turnover in 2020 was €2.17 billion, according to Retail-Index, with the retailer boasting a 4.8% market share as of December 2022, according to Kantar.
Turnover: €1.77 billion (2021)
SPAR is an international retail chain that has a strong presence in Spain. With a turnover of €1.77 billion in 2021, according to Retail-Index, SPAR Española, S.L. operates under the SPAR banner and has 851 stores across the country.
Turnover: €1.67 billion (2020, estimated)
Spanish retailer Ahorramas was founded in 1979, and currently operates 275 stores across the Madrid and Castilla La Mancha regions. Chief executive Eusebio Rubio Martin heads up a team of 12,000 employees. The group posted an estimated turnover of €1.67 billion in 2020.
Retail-Index is a specialist supplier of management information on consumer retail markets, provided by Veraart Research Group in the Netherlands. Its mission is to supply managers with up-to-date key information on retail markets in Europe and support them in their international expansion.
The company dates back to 1964, when it started as a market research and marketing consulting company for consumer products and services. In 1989, it started publishing written reports on various retail sectors in Europe. As of 2005, it publishes its information on retailers through the online database and curated datasheet exports available on www.retail-index.com. A team of researchers manages the data to reflect upon current developments in the markets, collected from an extensive number of sources.
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© 2023 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest Retail news. Article by Amanda Merchán. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.