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Costco/ Walmart in Europe

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Apr 12th, 2008, 05:05 PM
  #1
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Costco/ Walmart in Europe

We are traveling to Rome, Barcelona,
Lisbon, Bordeaux and Villefranche.
Does anyone have any idea if there are shopping venues like the Costcos or Walmarts in the States for household and food items that are of good quality and locally produced without the high price?

Thanks
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Apr 12th, 2008, 05:27 PM
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Maybe it's me, but I've never considered WalMart as a store of choice for locally produced items. Low cost, yes. Good quality. Maybe.


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Apr 12th, 2008, 05:31 PM
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Thankfully, no.

In France, I'd suggest you visit LeClerc or Mamouth.
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Apr 12th, 2008, 05:38 PM
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The groceries and convenience stores have everything you need...prices vary depending upon location.
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Apr 12th, 2008, 06:13 PM
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Sunnyshums,

Google Carrefour and Auchon to see if there are any of these "hyperstores" near where you are going. They should have anything you need.

Margy
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Apr 12th, 2008, 06:18 PM
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YCTIWY=
You can't take it with you.

YGWYPF=
You get what you pay for.

What is the amount you wish to save at the Spanish Walmart, as a % of what you plan to spend?
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Apr 12th, 2008, 06:20 PM
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>the Costcos or Walmarts in the States for household and food items that are of good quality and locally produced without the high price<

Are you serious? Not my impression of either one? Cheap, yes...good quailty and locally produced...no way!
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Apr 12th, 2008, 06:20 PM
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I think Wal Mart carries mostly things made in China.I don't like to shop in them here and for sure if I even saw one in Europe I would avoid it.I much prefer the local food shops and markets.That is part of the charm of Europe. I doubt very much if you will find any great bargains considering the way the USD has tanked. We are leaving in 4 weeks for Italy and I really am not planning on doing any shopping at all unless it is to eat.
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Apr 12th, 2008, 06:22 PM
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IMHO Walmart has low prices, poor quality (you get what you pay for) and definitely not locally produced anything.

IMHO locally produced anything costs way more than Walmart will charge (whether US made clothing or even local produce - for the latter you need a farm stand or pick it yourself). In my few experiences with Walmart they have those gigantic, tasteless fruits and vegetables that are usually imported from South America.
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Apr 12th, 2008, 06:22 PM
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Oh yes, and in Europe you will do best going to local markets, with local produce that is fresh and actually ripe.
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Apr 12th, 2008, 06:34 PM
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I'll admit, I was a skeptic.
But now I FIRMLY believe French food DOES taste better than standard American.
Perhaps the French are less willing to accept mediocre crap for produce, and the marketplace adjusts. Go to a Parisian outdoor market, and you'll not see ONE tomato (or other vegetable or fruit) that does not appear perfect. This perfection extends to taste, as well.
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Apr 12th, 2008, 06:37 PM
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Oh, and who would think a French walnut could seem any better than one from a freshly opened, newly purchased bag of Diamond walnuts?
The latter seem dry and tasteless in comparison. A shopkeeper in Sarlat explained, "If your American walnuts appear clean (as they do), perhaps they are bleached in a factory cleaning process, whereas ours have dirt and mold on the husk." Voila!
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Apr 12th, 2008, 06:39 PM
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I think closest store formats are hypermarkets (big-box, combination of food and non-food). There are hard discounters like Ed, Aldi, Lidl but won't cal it good quality.

In france, look for Carrefour, Casino (hypermarkets operating under Geant chains), Auchan (ATAK chains) and LeClerc.

I only know supermarket chains in Spain--major ones are Hypercore (sp?), Eroski. Pingo Doce is a supermarket chain in Portugal.

Many of these places focus on private brands. Again, as expressed by other posters, I would go for local produce markets for food items that re reasonably priced and locally produced.
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Apr 12th, 2008, 06:41 PM
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BTW, we DO have Costco and ASDA (which is owned by Walmart) in UK. We still make occasional visit to Costco--lots of imported Kirkland stuff.
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Apr 12th, 2008, 07:39 PM
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By travelling to Europe I think you'll learn real quick how different the rest of the world is from the US, including people's attitudes towards food and shopping. "Supersize me" is not part of the culture. Rather, food is fresh, local and delicious. Local markets are plentiful, economical and a fabulous shopping experience. Walmarts/Costcos are not needed. The emphasis is on quality and not quantity. THis is why most Europeans are trim and slim. Strawberries in December are not needed and nor is it necessary to import them thousands of miles to meet consumer demands.
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Apr 12th, 2008, 09:11 PM
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It may ruin the image a bit, but it is a bit idealistic to assume that every weekend us 500 million Europeans leisurely stroll over the local markets, with our baskets full of fresh produce like Little Red Riding Hood on her way to Grandma.

Every major (and not so major) city in France, Spain, or Portugal (no experience with this in Italy yet) has "supersized" supermarkets at the edges of town. Usually, tourists don't get to these areas, especially when they don't have a car.
The only difference is in the wording: supermarché, supermercado, or similar can be anything in size, usually more a mid-sized neighborhood supermarket. What the OP has in mind would be labeled as hypermarché or hipermercado.

Suburban malls will also almost always have at least one of these huge "supermarkets".

In general, places like Carrefour or Eroski may not have the "low low prices" attitude like Walmart, but are usually (much) lower in prices than tourist area supermarkets or markets.

Naturally, you can also buy local produce in those large-sized supermarkets. Local produce is usually flagged with a certain logo or wording, e.g. in France "du terroir" will designate goods from the region (not simply from all of France), which, e.g. in Provence, can be anything from fresh vegetables and wine to olive oil or lavender soap. So even in long aisles you will spot the local stuff easily.

Especially in Spain, the hipermercados have an enormous selection of fresh fish, and are an excellent resource for wine -- if you know what you want.

And the latter is also the downside of those huge places. Except for cheese, meat, and fish, you will find no real guidance.
That's where the local markets have a major advantage.
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Apr 12th, 2008, 09:26 PM
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Carrefour is the second largest "hypermarche" in the world. Walmart is the largest (by a quite a bit more).

I buy at Carrefour often, since it's very close but it's not always cheap. I can find cheaper products (identical)locally.

You can find Walmarts in Germany. Luckily, I have never visited neither Walmart nor Costco.

Blackduff
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Apr 13th, 2008, 12:00 AM
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Sunnyshums: Yes and No! Every major city in Europe has 'supermarkets'. The drygoods are outsourced to take advantage of quantity and prices. Bakery is produced on-site. Most vegetables and fruits are imported from low cost producing areas wherever they be. The supermarkets will have out of season produce. Local markets buy from local wholesalers. Their stock may be local or foreign. Fish is probably frozen...inquire. Meat can be both local or foreign. All SMs have huge stocks of dairy products. Always check dates. Quality is in the eye of the beholder! Locally produced goods may cost more. Frugal local shoppers buy whereever the price is lowest. Take notes of prices. Compare. Let us know what you learn.
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Apr 13th, 2008, 12:30 AM
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They do exist, I buy food and items at Coop and other gigantic supermarkets in Italy whenever I rent a villa but I haven't seen one right in Rome. They are usually on the outskirts of the cities.
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Apr 13th, 2008, 12:45 AM
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"You can find Walmarts in Germany."

You can't. They pulled out a couple of years ago, unable to get it into their heads that forcing your staff to sing inane songs doesn't get customers to switch from better-run, cheaper shops on the other side of the street.

In fact apart from their UK Asda business (which has lost market share since Wal-Mart bought them) Wal-Mart have failed to run a profitable operation anywhere outside the Americas, ever. In Europe and Asia they're an unprofitable minnow by comparison with Carrefour, Tesco and Metro, the three chains that have a proper track record in running multinational operations.
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