Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Spanish pound shops need to raise their game

Britain's pound shops are much better than the Spanish equivalents - the equally ubiquitous but drab and uninspiring "Chino" supermarkets.

This matters because the sector is one of the retail sectors' rare growth sectors in tough economic times.  Spain's consumers and the Spanish economy generally could benefit from a revolution in the cheap and cheerful sector.

The UK pound shop sector has been revolutionised in the recent past with the rise of chains like Poundland and 99p Store. The  additional buying power they have has enabled them to expand their ranges and especially to offer more branded products.

Crucially the big manufacturers have been encouraged to make lines especially for the sector so you get Head and Shoulders shampoo for a pound albeit in slightly smaller bottles.

They are also very dynamic, always looking for new offerings so customers never quite know what to expect.  You often end up going in to buy one thing and coming out with half a dozen bargains.  On my last trip - to stock up on sweets for the kids (honest) - I was delighted to also walk out with two DVDs of the original Spiderman TV series which my kids love and which cost 5 times as much on Amazon.

Even celebs go to Poundland these days according to news reports.  Hard to imagine Spanish celebs going to their local chinese bazaar.  These never have anything branded or different and the presentation is woeful - like the contents of a Chinese container vessel have just been dumped into a cavernous warehouse.  Not everything is that cheap either.

Before the euro came along there were "100 centime" shops (about 60 c) which stuck mostly to the pound shop model, allowing for inflation.  The "hypermarkets" we now get in Spain charge pretty random prices with some of knick-knacks costing 60 or 70 cents but some going up to €1,80 or €2.

The bigger ticket items (like big Christmas present toys or electrical goods) are risky purchases even when the price does seem right as the quality is so variable and there are no guarantees.

I could be way out of touch here and maybe there are Poundland equivalents in parts of Spain that I don't know about.  But in the areas I know Spain is being badly served and needs a bargain-retailing revolution.

From our website:  Taxation of rental properties in Spain

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