Thursday, 3 July 2014

First impressions of Jeziorki's new Biedronka

A week after Biedronka opened its doors to Jeziorki, I ventured into the new supermarket on my way from work. I must say, my first impression was favourable. Seven and half out of ten. The new shop will give our local Lidl a run for its money.

The Biedronka chain is run by Jeronimo Martins Distribution, a Portuguese-owned chain now registered in the Netherlands for tax reasons. JMD is Poland's no.1 retailer, ahead of Tesco and Carrefour.

Interestingly, Biedronka is exactly the same distance from our house as Lidl - 1.1km on foot. Both are 300m from the nearest bus stop, both of which are just one stop from Trombity.

The layout is similar - you enter to the left of the store, past the bakery department, then tinned groceries, fresh fruit and veg with the refrigerated meats, fish and cheeses at the far end. Like Lidl, Biedronka sells some non-food items, including stuff not seen at Lidl such as bicycles and TVs. One little difference - the baskets. These have extendable handles and wheels, and can be pulled along, encouraging you to buy more as you're no longer limited by how much you can carry.

On my first visit I bought beef carpaccio (Beefmaster by Biernacki, 140g - as at Lidl, premium meat), own-brand pesto, 190g jar at half the price of Auchan's Gran Italia - and not bad at all; some 'Światowid'-brand 14 month-old mature cheddar cheese* - made in Great Britain for (na zlecienie) Lactalis Polska for Jeronimo Martins Polska; some stir-fry mixed sprouts; and a fillet of smoked salmon**. These five premium items came to just over 32 zlotys - around £7. Excellent value - and excellent quality.

Where's the alcohol, I hear you asking. Indeed a question I intended to ask one of the staff myself. I feared the following answer: "Because the shop turned out to be less than 100m as the crow flies from a railway station, we were denied a licence to sell alcohol, even though it's actually a 400m walk to get here from the platform".

Fortunately, my doubts were misguided. I asked and yes, there will be a licence - in three weeks time. Eight months it takes to build and fit out the shop start to finish, nine months to get a licence to sell alcohol. Hey-ho.

So I look forward to some refreshing vinhos verdes and some robust ruby ports from Portugal for when the nights get longer.

How will Biedronka fare against Lidl? It will be a tough fight for the affections of shoppers. Lidl seems somehow lighter, brighter; more daylight from the south-facing windows. Biedronka seems cheaper. Time will tell which car park is fuller at the weekend.

But unless Biedronka can sell me something that Lidl and (in particular) Auchan can't, my shopping habits won't change much. It'll still be Auchan for me of a Sunday morning.

One unanswered question: the road sign as you leave the Biedronka car park and approach the junction to Karczunkowska. It says 'end of cycle path'. What cycle path? Where did it begin? Will one be built? If so, where from? And only in one direction?

* The 14 month-old matured cheddar is excellent value for 7.49zł for 200g. It tastes better, and is 4zł cheaper, than the Kerrygold mature cheddar sold at Auchan.

** I was hoping also for bacalhau - dried cod-fish, a Portuguese staple. No such luck. Nor indeed Queijo de Serpa, a hard goat's cheese. Maybe one day, as the the tastes of Warsaw consumers become even more cosmopolitan.

This time last year:
In the highways and the hedges

This time two years ago
How Warsaw's public transport authority communicates with passengers

This time three years ago:
Farewell to separate alcohol tills at Polish supermarkets

This time four years ago:
Twin turboprop cargo planes at Okęcie

This time five years ago:
To the countryside, Czachówek

This time six years ago:
Why I feel freer in Poland than in the UK

This time seven years ago:
Stormy summer night


Neighbour said...

I have been there last weekend as well. My first impression - more light, wider space between shelves, some products clearly offered as an opening occasion (HP laptops for 1200).
When they get the licence, please try also Cydr Dobroński, it's comparable in taste. to Irish made Magners.
Regarding weekend shopping - I do iton Friday evening, after work. The supermarket is almost without customersand I have ALL weekend free.

Have you asked Mr. Guział about Karczunkowska pavement?

Best regards,

Michael Dembinski said...

Guział was asked about Karczunkowska pavement. He knows its a problem but is happy to leave it to ZDM. He says work will start on the viaduct over the railway line shortly. He said the developer that will be building a housing estate behind the Biedronka will be leaned on to pay for a pavement from the development to the station.

There were also suggestions that traffic-calming measures are introduced to slow down drivers on Karczunkowska.

Marcin said...

Dried codfish in Biedronka? I doubt if Polish customers would know what to do with that. And the Portuguese price of about EUR 7/kg wouldn't be competitive on the Polish market, I am afraid. Not to mention the smell...