Hyper/Supermarket Chains in Brussels
There are many convenient hyper/supermarkets markets in Brussels and the variety and price are dependent on where you choose to shop. Some stores specialize in low prices, often cutting out as many costs as possible in order to maintain the prices, while others offer a wider range of products at slightly higher prices. Most of the stores are easy to reach by walking, car or public transport, and many are part of multi-national chains, though there are also privately owned markets on most blocks that provide household basics. Like many cities, there are areas where it is possible to find ethnic stores as well, in particular “Marrakesh”, boasting a largely Northern-African population and “Matonge”, a largely sub-Saharan African neighborhood, in particular Congolese, where it is possible to get a wider variety of these particular ethnic foods and spices.
The wide range of options ensures that a move to the city negates any worries on the shopping front as there are super/hypermarkets to suit every taste. Be aware that most supermarkets require the use of a coin, usually 1€, to be deposited to release a shopping cart, which is then returned when the cart is returned to the correct holding area. Most supermarkets are open Monday to Saturday from 9am to 7pm and some have a slightly later closing time on Fridays. Below are some of the chains in Brussels, though depending on where you live in the city there will be smaller outlets related to these chains or privately-owned corner stores that may also provide what you need at competitive prices. On Sundays many supermarkets are either open until midday, or closed, though there are many night-stores across the city where you can get food and additional basics.
Aldi is a German low-cost supermarket group that keeps costs down by using largely generic brands often under their own name, offering little variety and employing minimum multi-tasking staff. With many stores in the city, Aldi employs direct mail advertising more than anything else and holds regular sales. There are many more stores skirting the city.
A French chain, its hypermarkets as marketed as Carrefour, and its smaller supermarkets as GB Express which are scattered around Brussels, specialising in convenient stores in neighborhoods in urban areas. Designed for “convenience shopping” many of the stores are open on some holidays when others may be closed as well as often having longer opening hours on regular days. Prices at Carrefour are reasonable, and they have many lines marketed under their own brand name and are able to cut costs as a result.
A Belgian chain, Colruyt is a discount supermarket group that offers brand name products at lower prices as well as marketing many under its own brand name. A direct competitor of Aldi and Lidl, Colruyt utilises greater shopping space has a wider range of consumables. In Belgium, Colruyt also owns the franchise to the Spar chain of supermarkets. Colruyt has 16 locations around Brussels.
Another Belgian chain, Delhaize specializes mainly in food retailing and offers a wide range of products and is probably the most similar to the large British and American chains. Prices are fairly reasonable but the selection of foodstuffs is greater than most. Delhaize has many locations in the city and is open at 8am.
Modelled on the Aldi concept, Lidl is similarly a German discount supermarket and has many locations around Brussels. A direct competitor of Aldi and Colruyt, Lidl also has limited choices.
Makro is a wholesale-type retailer, selling goods in bulk at discounted prices. A direct competitor of Colruyt, it has a wide range of products from foods to all household electronics and garden implements. Makro requires membership to shop there with different cards that have different benefits. There is only one Makro in Brussels and it is on the outskirts of the city.