Given that Turkey has had Western-style supermarkets for less than 25 years it is astonishing to discover that they have already captured one-third of the grocery market; already there are signs that they will drive out the small grocery shops and street markets in the same way that they have done in the UK and USA.

The experience of shopping in a Turkish supermarket will be familiar, with prices clearly displayed on the shelves and machines to check the prices of any items that have been overlooked. At the checkout you will be presented with an itemised receipt and will be able to pay with a Turkish credit or debit card. The main difference manifests itself in the more limited range of goods on sale and the greater emphasis on service.

The major supermarket chains are:

  • Beğendik (www.begendik.com.tr)
  • Bim (www.bim.com.tr)
  • Carrefour (www.carrefour.com.tr)
  • Dia (www.diasa.com.tr)
  • Kipa (www.kipa.com.tr
  • Metro
  • Migros (www.migros.com.tr)
  • REAL
  • Şok (www.migros.com.tr/magazalar_sok_bul.asp)
  • Tansaş (www.tansas.com.tr)

Carrefour is partially French-owned, Makro is German-owned and Kipa is part-owned by the British retail giant Tesco. Once Swiss-owned, Migros is now part of the vast Koç group and offers an online shopping service and a range of own-brand products. Bim, Şok and Dia sell a smaller range of goods but at discounted prices. 

Increasingly the supermarkets have large out-of-town and shopping-mall stores as well as smaller city-centre branches. Migros, for example, designates its stores with between one and five Ms to indicate their size and the range of goods available: a one-M Migros sells roughly the same items as a corner bakkal, a two-M Migros has a wider range of goods and a five-M Migros sells everything from clothes and stationery to food and electrical goods.

Look out for two-for-the-price-of-one offers and other marketing wheezes familiar from the West. Just before Ramazan there are often many special offers, including money-back coupons that have to be used within a certain time frame.

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