Why can't Argentine supermarkets get their act together and modernise?

There are 48 replies in this Thread. The last Post () by Rice.

  • Shopping here is a nauseating experience, with limited choice, crappy staff and overpriced products. The stores are generally run down, desperately need modernisation and most of the time the queues are horrendous.

    I pinched these shots from the Hereford Times, showing a new Aldi reopening, thinking how nice it would be if they were a bit like this over here.





  • Aldi, a German chain, started growing in the US in the early 1970's. At that time their stores in Germany were fantastic: brightly lit, scrupulously clean, with spacious aisles and a dazzling assortment of beautiful foods. But in the US, they concentrated on being cheap, and our introduction to them was dingy, dark stores with unrefrigerated, limp produce and low quality goods.


    Fast forward to the early 200's: Aldi USA cleaned up its act, offering quality groceries at reasonable prices, well presented in clean, bright stores. Their produce was so much cheaper than other stores that people who preferred their regular stores and name brands, would often make an extra stop at Aldi's for vegetables.


    During the past few years, there has been a push to enlarge and update the stores, but this move has been accompanied by significantly increased produce prices. It will be interesting to see whether enough people are now in the habit of vegetable shopping there, who will continue to do so, or if perhaps customers will gravitate back to their usual supermarkets. Either way, they definitely seem to have changed their business model.


    They would probably do very well in the Buenos Aires market, as long as they stopped in that middle phase: clean, bright stores with reliably good and value-priced food.


    But why, in general, don't consumers in Argentina demand better supermarkets? Jumbo and Carrefour have big, clean stores in upmarket areas (except, oddly, Recoleta), so why not everywhere? If one chain provided a pleasant shopping experience, plenty of cashiers and well displayed, high quality items, wouldn't everyone flock there, forcing the competitors to follow suit?

  • But why, in general, don't consumers in Argentina demand better supermarkets? Jumbo and Carrefour have big, clean stores in upmarket areas (except, oddly, Recoleta), so why not everywhere?

    I think Argentinian supermarkets reflect well the standard of living of their customers.

    Even rich people in the northern suburbs sometimes lived in dirty and under-maintaned big houses. We went to some ferias americanas of people moving houses or leaving the country, houses that from the outside looked nice or luscious, but their kitchen... god forbid!


    Also, I don't think most supermarket customers have the kind of money to be able to afford compulsive shopping.

  • Have to agree the standard of chain supermarkets here are pretty grim. Their pricing structure confuses the hell out of me as well. I had to ask my wife what 70% of 56 was yesterday to try and work out the cost of a buy one get 70% off the second offer. :D


    Get the Chinese to run them I say. They know what the customer wants.

  • Have to agree the standard of chain supermarkets here are pretty grim. Their pricing structure confuses the hell out of me as well.

    It is really mind boggling.

    Buying two 6-packs of female towels is less expensive than buying 1x 12-pack (same brand and type).


    Sometimes even the 'per kilo' price doesn't reflect the real price, I mean the math is crooked. I though it was just a simple formula in their software, but apparently it is not. I realized it once when a brand of mid-level canned food was cheaper than the entry-level we had been buying. Then it turned out the math was wrong. The per item price was correct, but it wasn't correctly reflected in the per kilo price.


    I find it really incredible that even 'fancy' Jumbos and Discos have buckets along the aisles when it rains. It is also not unusual to spot pigeons.

  • Having said that I was in a Disco last week just off Ave Santa Fe and enjoyed it. For a city centre store it wasn't too cramped, it was clean, the shelves were full and the choice was good.

    However my gripe with this country are the prices not just in supermarkets but in most areas of the retail trade. I can put up with some grime and poor customer experience if the price is right. However we're being charged over the top prices for goods and services which are well below average quality....that's what really gets on my goat.

  • However we're being charged over the top prices for goods and services which are well below average quality....that's what really gets on my goat.

    I think it is key to change one own's perspective.

    We come from Europe and we are used to have a wide choice of high quality product, but only a minority of the world population knows such luxury.

    When traveling in the inner provinces of Argentina, I cannot but feel spoiled with the choice available in Buenos Aires (City and Province).

  • Indeed....and you don't have to go far from Buenos Aires to see that.

    This country is years behind the likes of Europe. That in itself isn't a problem for me...it's the pricing of goods and services I can't accept. Our weekly shopping costs more here than it does in the UK. And don't get me started on the price of toilet rolls....:D

  • Paper products for kitchen and bathroom do seem to be both expensive and in skimpy rolls, UK Man . Best bet may be the (rapidly disappearing) tiny neighborhood shops that sell household products in bulk, if you can locate one. Our closest one, at Mansilla esq. Bulnes, closed last year. Perhaps Carlos can suggest non-supermarket sources of paper products?

  • Yesterday I went to our local Coto at around 1530 thinking it wouldn't be a busy time of day. Wrong.

    Out of eight tills there were only three running with each having a queue of about 15 people, all looking like the tired and pissed off Argentines I see of late and I knew that if I joined them I wouldn't be responsible for my actions, so I left as a precautionary measure.

    I have since vowed never to step foot in the place.

  • I find all the supermarkets here the same, shit. Even Jumbo and Disco, which for some reason are supposed to be the upmarket choices... why? I actually live right by Carrefour Velez and it is a dump basically.

  • We're out of the capital and have to say the two main supermarkets here have great staff....about the only thing that the places have going for them.

    I can only assume they are well remunerated as most of them have been there for years. They can certainly afford to pay their staff well. They were charging 60 pesos for a kilo for zapallito when the fruit and veg shop down the road was selling them for 10 pesos. The pricing is nuts here.

  • I found several pigeons at the Carrefour in Vicente Lopez on multiple occasions. This week I met the black cat at Easy in Almagro. I could smell the cat pee in some points of the store. Nobody seemed bugged by the kitten, by the way. He was also easily approachable, unlike the staff. :D