Spanish hypermarkets to claw back share

Related tags Cent Hypermarket

With tough rules on new store development curbing the growth of
hypermarkets in Spain - designed to protect traditional retailers -
most of the dynamism in the market has come from supermarkets,
which have, ironically, been just as ruthless at taking market
share from traditional small stores.

But the dominance of supermarkets looks to be on the wane, with hypermarkets expected to claw back some market share from their smaller rivals - both supermarkets and traditional stores - over the next few years, according to a report on the retail sector published recently by the Banco Cetelem.

The bank's report suggests that hypermarkets will take a market share of around 18.2 per cent this year as they benefit from the expansion of out-of-town retail parks. While hypermarket growth is restricted, that of other non-food stores is not, and numerous other stores have sprung up in recent years, often around out-of-town hypermarkets.

Increasing numbers of customers heading to these retail parks for items as diverse as furniture, clothing, electrical goods and computer products are also stopping off to do their weekly food shop as well, driving up hypermarkets' share of the Spanish food retail market as a result, the bank suggests.

This turnaround is expected to happen relatively quickly, the report suggests - just last year, hypermarkets saw their overall share of sales fall by 4 percentage points while large supermarkets (over 1,000 square metres) saw their share rise by nine points to 19.2 per cent.

Supermarkets between 500 and 1,000 square metres saw their share rise by 2 points to 19.6 per cent, while small supermarkets and traditional stores saw their saw fall by nearly 5 per cent each to 14 and 19 per cent respectively.

Meanwhile, a separate report, this time compiled by the Spanish government's Competition Commission (SDC), suggests that just a handful of chains will continue to dominate the food retail sector.

According to the report, cited by the Europa Press​ news agency, Carrefour, Eroski, Mercadona and Alcampo (Auchan) have a 46 per cent share of the Spanish retail market, with Catalan retailer Caprabo is in firth place with a 5 per cent share.

However, while Carrefour is the only chain with anything approaching a strong nationwide presence, most of the groups have pockets where they are particularly strong: Carrefour, for instance, has a 30 per cent share of the market in Madrid, 24 per cent in Catalonia, 23 per cent in Andalusia and 19 per cent in the Basque region.

Eroski is the undisputed leader in the Basque region, however, with a 41 per cent share there. Alcampo has a strong 13 per cent share in Madrid, while Mercadona's biggest ingle market is Andalusia, where it has an 8 per cent share.

One key finding of the report was that the Spanish retail sector still has relatively low levels of concentration, at least compared to other EU countries, mainly due to the limitations on new store developments there which have effectively put the brakes on the entire retail sector.

This is likely to change somewhat this year, however, with one of the leading foreign players there, Ahold, planning to divest its Spanish operations as part of its overall restructuring efforts - a move which will inevitably revitalise the retail sector with 620 stores going up for sale, including the Superdiplo supermarket chain.

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