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Spinneys vs. Carrefour

When Kipp puts two UAE household names to the test it’s a question of scale and price against quality and convenience. Who will win out, the global giant, or the local hero?

 
Range
 

Possibly the most enjoyable aspect about shopping in Spinneys is the delight of discovering some new, unusual item in their racks. Whether it is marmalade with ginger or cilantro and basil pesto, a wander down the Spinney’s aisles is always filled with welcome surprises. Although it is worth mentioning: Spinneys does cater to a more European taste –which means it can be quite a challenge to find some ingredients for the local palate.

Editor's Score 0

Though possibly less quaint in their selection of goodies, there is no way anyone can deny the sheer magnitude of the range of products at Carrefour. Perhaps it isn’t fair to compare the two, given Carrefour’s status as a hyper market; but along with a wide selection of groceries, Carrefour comes complete with entire departments for electronics, furniture, garments and footwear. We’re sorry Spinneys, though your exquisite range of products has a real fan in us, the fact that Carrefour could provide anyone setting up a home with the basics, means it has our vote on this one.

Editor's Score 1
 
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Price
 

Xpress recently did a quick survey of the various supermarkets in the UAE. The products they bought included groceries, fruits, vegetables, dairy produce, toiletries, cleaning agents and other household items. Uniformity was maintained in selecting the purchases; so that if they bought Indian onions in one supermarket, they tried to buy the same in the others. The findings? We weren't too surprised that Spinney's came out as the most expensive of the six. In fact, on closer inspection of Xpress purchases, products from Spinneys are significantly higher than those from Carrefour, LuLu, HyperPanda, Geant and Choithrams.

Editor's Score 0

You only need to see the swarms of crowds clustered over the huge baskets of shoes, wrestling each other mercilessly as the sign “Dh5 ONLY” waves ominously over their heads, to know that Carrefour is best known for its low prices. Whether it is onions, shoes, shirts or even electronics, residents continually flock to the chain to snatch some of the city’s best bargains.

Editor's Score 1
 
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Timings
 

Could there be anything more convenient than a 24 hour supermarket? Okay not all of them are 24 hour, of course, but the one near us is. We are not wasting words on this one, for being continually available to our ever wavering spontaneous desires, Spinneys get the score.

Editor's Score 1

As most of the stores of Carrefour are in malls, some of them operate according to the time of the malls. Though it may be worth waiting for the few dirhams you could save, let’s face it—when it is 3 in the morning and you want to make that stack of pancakes, what are a few dirhams in the face of convenience?

Editor's Score 0
 
VS

As you’ve probably noticed, Kipp likes shopping at Spinneys. Is it the warm smell of freshly baked bread wafting from the bakery? Or perhaps the rather elegant spread of cheese and cold cuts? Or maybe it’s the well organized, spacious aisles with enough room to waltz down? Kipp can’t decide, but all we are going to say is that shopping at Spinneys is definitely an experience we look forward to.

Editor's Score 1

Snatching a bargain at Carrefour does not come without a sharp cost—to your sanity. Shopping in Carrefour requires a certain kind of mental reserve that not all have been blessed with. Before you enter into the battlefield illuminated by an army of blaring tube lights, you need to prepare yourself for a tirade of screaming brats being accosted by their preoccupied parents who are busy throwing a month’s worth of groceries into their already stuffed trolleys. Kipp could go on, but you get the picture. The whole, terrifyingly claustrophobic and unsettling picture.

Editor's Score 0
 
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Staff
 

Kipp’s going to put our cards on the table for this one: and let you know about one of Spinney’s bakers, Raja, at the Trade Center Road branch. Over the years, Raja has unfailingly given us outstanding service – from saving the freshest loaf of Farmhouse bread to sealing the baked goodies with a smile. Beyond our Raja-bias, Kipp will note that we’ve always been treated fairly and politely by the staff of Spinneys on our every visit.

Editor's Score 1

This is a tough one to compare, given that both Spinneys and Carrefour are home to relatively adequate staff, unlike some of Dubai’s other disgruntled supermarket staff (we aren’t talking about LuLu or Sunrise, of course), but if we were forced to compare we’d have to go with Spinneys on this one. Carrefour’s staff, though helpful, is overburdened with the unwashed masses rushing to get their onions weighed first and of course, rushing to the checkout – eager, no doubt, to get out of the mad house.

Editor's Score 0
 
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Stores
 

Though the average Spinneys maybe a lot smaller than the Carrefour hypermarkets, being established in the UAE much longer, there is a substantial showering of Spinneys all over the Emirates. Whether it is the Spinneys by Ramada, smack in the heart of Bur Dubai, or the relatively new Spinney’s at Dubai Marina or Emirates Hills; a midnight hankering for something can almost always be cured by a five to ten minute drive.

Editor's Score 1

Things are changing and smaller versions of Carrefour, Carrefour Express, are popping up over the Emirates. For now though, the few Carrefour hypermarkets are only available at the major malls—not too accessible to fulfill the quick desires of daily grocery shopping.

Editor's Score 0
 
VS

Relatively smaller (much smaller), Spinney's currently has a global presence of 23 stores in the Middle East. According to their website, Spinneys has stores in Egypt (2), Lebanon (6), Qatar (1) and UAE (14). The group is growing, and has mentioned plans of expanding in the MENASA region in the recently published Abraaj Buyout Fund [Ed’s note: Abraaj are also shareholders of Mediaquestcorp, Kipp’s publisher]. We are also impressed to find out that the two branches of Waitrose in the UAE are managed by Spinneys.

Editor's Score 0

With a global presence, Carrefour also has a couple of superlatives to its name. Apparently, it is "the largest hypermarket chain in the world in terms of size, the second largest retail group in the world in terms of revenue and third largest in profit after Wal-Mart and Tesco." So says Wikipedia. Operating in South America, Europe, North Africa and Asia, Carrefour has an impressive 15,500 hypermarkets, supermarkets, discount stores and neighbourhood stores too. Carrefour definitely has our vote on this one.

Editor's Score 1
 
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Editor's Score 4

Editor's Score 3
 
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It is a close call, but in the end the elitist in Kipp shines through.

 

1 Comment

  1. Mohamed on November 24, 2010 1:21 pm

    A comparison between Carrefour and Lulu would have been a much fairer comparison.

     

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