One of my biggest passion is to go to a Supermarket. Not because I like shopping, but I love to buy things on sale! There are four main chains in Portugal. THE map of Leiria have them all and they are all unique. I want to explain each one to you. Please note that it’s not common to find people who speak English in these stores. Please bring a Translator app or some pictures to help us.
Quer saco? Do you want a bag?
Since 2015 that we need to pay for a bag in every grocery shop. Our government launched a tax over plastic bags, and the supermarkets charge them to the customer. The prices for a plastic bag range from 0,06€ till 0,50€. I always buy the 0,50€ one (when I forget to bring one) because they are very strong (you can transport wood in them!) and pretty! Pingo Doce has amazing bags like you see above.
Cartão Poupa Mais/Continente? Poupa Mais/Continente Card?
These are client cards. They have some interesting sales that you can only have with these cards, but I think you will not need it. Continente needs you to put an address on their card and they send coupons to your house (10% on everything or 5€ on bills bigger than 20€) for example, so it’s better to be lazy and not join. Just say no to continue your purchase.
Pingo Doce is my favorite store. I mean, the brand, their products, the store, they bags, their ads saying for you to come in! They are amazing, and they have sales every week! You can buy tuna cans for 0,59€ and beer for half price! They renovate the items on sale every Tuesday and you can see the items on sale navigating through the store.
There are more than 4 stores in Leiria, but the ones you want are available at THE map of Leiria. Please pay attention because the store in Marquês de Pombal is underground.
In this store you can choose between a lot of brands. They have the premium brand names but they have also their store brand. Some people are picky and say that store brand products don’t have quality, but it’s not true for Pingo Doce I believe. The most products are cheaper than the premium brands, but pay attention because sometimes the premium brand is on sale and becomes cheaper!
Normally Pingo Doce is open from 9AM till 9PM and it’s also open on holidays (except X-mas and new year)!
Before passing to another chain, in 2012 Pingo Doce relaunched its brand. May 1st was the chosen date to launch a crazy promotion. EVERYTHING in the store was 50% off! On that day they had a loss of about 10 million Euros, but they appeared on every newspaper and television. See this clip to understand that crazy day. It seemed like a black Friday in America. The employees didn’t need to restock the shelves, they only putted the product outside of the warehouse and the product disappeared almost instantly. They were also knows for launching an ad on tv that took 1:30 to pass! It was a song about them and was always playing in their store. Some customers stopped going there infuriated with their annoying song that was everywhere.
Continente is considered a Hypermarket because of the size. It’s located in Leiria Shopping and you can find really anything there! From batteries to paint, from bicycles to dishes and places, they have it all. They also have a sale every week and they have their store brand, of course.
It’s way bigger than Pingo Doce and sometimes the items on sale are so cheap that you fill your kitchen with supplies for the next season (like a bear or any other animal who hibernates). They are open from 9:30AM till 10:30PM. Like Pingo Doce they are almost always open (except on X-mas and new year).
I can’t speak about the premium brands, but I searched and found no differences in prices on the store brands. At least the products I saw (spaghetti, rice, water, juice).
The nice thing about Continente is that they have self check-out counters, and they have the English language on them!
I want to be honest with you. I went there a few weeks ago and I thought to myself: with Pingo Doce here, how do they have people that buy in their store? Again, tomato sauce, juice, spaghetti, rice, fruit, and vegetables are not so cheap here as in Pingo Doce, but they might change that anytime. Please check week to week because prices change regularly between the supermarkets.
Ok, but let’s continue the article. The shop is small but they have the common supplies you need for your house. They have freshly baked bread every morning (in their oven) so, if you want to have breakfast, you will have a very cheap and nice breakfast there.
If you want to buy cheap beer, Lidl has a lot of different price ranges and German beers for you to taste. But please don’t buy a lot of them before you taste them.
They don’t have a butcher neither a fish place. You find every meat and fish on freezers, already packet in domestic portions. You also have cereal, milk, water, hygiene products and drinks available there.
They are normally open from 9AM to 9PM almost every day (not sure about holidays, but maybe you can help me with that).
Aldi is another chain very similar to Lidl. They have similar products, similar store design and have similar prices. You can go there once and see the prices. I know they have really cheap vodka, but I don’t dare to taste it.
They are also open from 9AM till 9PM.
Wait! Did you say Leiria had only four chains? Yes, but I want to speak also about “Mini Preço”. I don’t consider it a lot because they are not so cheap and don’t have a lot of items on sale. I don’t know anyone who goes there, and that happens for a reason.
There is also another chain in Leiria and Portugal, but I think the main chains are here. You can also find Intermarché, Meu Super and Ulmar. Or they don’t have cheap prices, or they are rude, or they are very small are the main reasons I don’t speak about them. But of course, you can try each of them and then send me an opinion about it!