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ITE Transport and Logistics

Turkey's top 5 supermarkets profiled

While other industries may be exercising caution, the Turkish grocery retailing sector is confident that it will continue to experience growth. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), food retail sales accounted for 60% of total retail market share in 2014, the total value of which was $121 billion. Growth in this sector was projected by the USDA to continue steadily at 8% from 2015-2018. According to BMI Research, mass grocery sales eclipsed this growth by posting an increase in sales of 12.6% in 2015.

Whether these predictions become a reality remains to be seen but the industry is optimistic. Interested in capitalising on this growth? We’ve profiled the top Turkish supermarket chains so you can identify which stores give your products the best chance of reaching a wider customer base in Turkey.

Before we begin detailing the major supermarket players it is worth noting that the Turkish supermarket sector is more fragmented than other developed nations. The custom of purchasing and consuming fresh food on the day is still extremely culturally relevant. This means open-air bazaars and smaller local outlets called bakkals account for a sizable slice of the food retail market.

While it is true Turkey is moving towards a more westernised approach to grocery retailing, bakkals remain firm favourites for Turkish shoppers. It is in the larger, chain stores, that foreign products are sold so keep this in mind if you’re planning an expansion into Turkey.


As Turkey’s leading chain of discount grocery retailers, a large section of the Turkish supermarket sector, BİM enjoys the largest individual market share a 6.7%. The retail chain is Turkish owned and operates over 4,700 stores nationwide. 2014’s financial report, the most up-to-date information available at the time, stated the group’s sales increased by 22% that year to reach 14.5 billion Turkish lira (TL) or about $5 billion.

In addition to its continued discount focused operations, BİM announced its intentions to open premium stores in and around the Istanbul area. According to a report by the Daily Sabah, the group is aiming to open its first up-scale locations by the first quarter of 2016.

Migros Ticaret A.Ş

While BİM’s operations are concentrated firmly on discount sales, Migros Ticaret has taken a more varied approach to grocery retailing. The group, owned by Turkey’s Andolu Endustri Holding, splits its food operations across three brands. Migros covers super and hypermarket sales, while discount stores operate under the Tansas umbrella with Macro Center being responsible for more up-scale “gourmet” options.

Migros Ticaret, much like BİM, posted double-digit growth in 2014 with a 14% in net consolidated sales. In monetary terms, this amounted to TL 8.1 billion ($2.5 billion).

The company is also notable for originating as a joint venture between Swiss-based Migros Co-operatives and the Istanbul Municipality – demonstrating just how successful foreign firms can be in Turkish food retailing.

Yildiz Holdings

While not a brand per se, Yildiz Holdings is the third largest operator of grocery stores and supermarkets in Turkey via their acquisition of  discount chain Şok in 2011 and cash-and-carry wholesalers Bizim Toptan in 2002. Cumulatively, Yildiz Holdings operates just over 2,500 stores, the majority of which are under the Şok brand, across Turkey.

As of 2014, again the most up-to-date information available, Yildiz Holdings’ food retail operations turned over TL 3.5 billion ($1.1 billion).


A101 is another Turkish owned discount supermarket chain. In terms of pure store numbers, A101 sits in second place with nearly 4,000 locations across Turkey. The company also performs well financially, with total 2014 revenues of around TL 3.4 billion ($1.1 billion).


Originally wholly owned by French hypermarket leaders Carrerfour, CarrefourSA is a joint venture between the French company and Turkish firm Sabanci Holding. Sabanci Holding owns a controlling stake of some 50.93% after a deal in 2013.

CarrefourSA is somewhat of a success story in Western food retail practices taking hold in the Turkish market. The company has over 400 stores, a mixture of hyper and supermarkets, it operates across Turkey. After stepping up investment across all operations, Carrefour SA saw its sales increase 20% to TL 3.1 billion ($1 billion) in 2014.
While other Western chains, have experienced complications and frustrations resulting in closed stores due to the fragmented nature of the Turkish market, CarrefourSA’s prosperity is an inspirational tale for foreign supermarket operators.

Closing our profile of the top grocery retailers in Turkey are Tesco-Kipa, a joint British-Turkish venture and German wholesalers the Metro Group. Each posted sales in excess of TL 2 billion in 2014. However, due to financial difficulties of its parent company, Tesco-Kipa is looking to downsize its presence in Turkey in 2016 and is likely to be replaced by another domestic competitor.

Again, it is important to stress the difference between Turkish food retail and a more western model. But times are changing. Under pressure from the big retail chains, the number of bakkals has shrunk over the last decade from 160,000 to 90,000. If this trend continues, and retail chains gain a larger market share, then foreign products will likely gain a larger foothold in the Turkish market.

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