Thursday, June 14, 2007

Supermarket Sweep

Locally there are three supermarkets that matter. Mercadona, Eroski Syp and Caprabo. Well now Eroski (I still refer to it simply as Syp, which is what it used to be here) has bought Caprabo - it has a 75% stake. The general impression, one that you get from people you talk to and which, frankly, I have no way of verifying, is that Mercadona is the best-priced, Caprabo is the most expensive.

With the market having now been reduced by 33%, the competition becomes smaller. And this is really the point I want to make. Although the UK has seen a rationalisation of the supermarket market, there is a generally higher level of competition. Here, there is less, not least from foreign chains. Carrefour had been in for Caprabo, but it missed out. Lidl, the German chain, has a supermarket in Inca and has been rumoured to be building a store on the area currently occupied by Karting Magic by Alcúdia’s Magic Roundabout. But otherwise, foreign chains are little in evidence. In other retail sectors the German Schlecker and Müller stores have a presence (Müller in Alcúdia is a cracking shop), but this part of Mallorca at any rate has been largely ignored by the free market that is meant to be the European Union.

What continues to bug me is that the local supermarkets seem immune to or unprepared to offer foreign goods. Wine is the most obvious case in point, one I have made before. Mallorcan, Spanish, Spanish, Mallorcan. French, Australian, Californian, Chilean? Forget it. Some of the tourist supermarkets are better in this regard. Colber along the Greasy Mile is a good example, but the main supermarkets? Free market? Nah!

Still, and coming back to the Basque issue, a Basque-based company - Eroski - has now expanded its interests further. Despite the foregoing, a better advert for matters Basque than ETA’s arsing around.

Quiz time: Here I quote today’s winner.

“Andrew. The answer to 'which team did J.Iglesias play football for?' I think is Real Madrid. Wasn't he a goalie? Haven't looked at your blog for a few weeks, but thought I'd better catch up on the goss as I'm coming over on 23rd June. Thanks for keeping us 'Alcudia exiles' up to date! Jan.”

Thanks a lot, Jan. And you’re right. It was only the junior team, but Real it was, and the Julioster was indeed a goalie.

Ok. Here is a monster question. On the supermarket theme. Name the lead singer of which punkish band from the late 70s whose “surname” was that of a well-known UK supermarket chain. (I have mentioned this band quite recently.)


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