Not that much of a surprise

Wm Morrison is celebrating the 20th anniversary of what is often regarded as its busiest supermarket – and its in Gibraltar.

The supermarket in Gibraltar is the only Morrisons shop outside of Britain and is the furthest away from the company’s headquarters.

However, it has consistently been one of the retailer’s top 10 supermarkets in terms of sales and is a little-known jewel in the crown for Britain’s fourth biggest supermarket chain.

Fabian Picardo, the chief minister of Gibraltar, said at a reception earlier this month to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the store that “it is impossible to find in Gibraltar anyone who does not actually shop there”

It’s not just that. People from right along the coast (yes, even as far as here, Albufeira in the Algarve) take trips to Gib. Part of it’s for the weekend away, a night on the town. But there’s always the anchor visit to Morrisons to stock up.

No, not because the local food is bad, it ain’t. But just to stock the larder with those terribly English things that you can’t get locally. No one’s buying teabags, Marmite’s now generally available, but Bovril, mint sauce perhaps…..yes, there’s now an Iceland in Albufeira but still, some things they don’t stock.

There’s that hinterland of hundreds of thousands of expats…..

6 comments on “Not that much of a surprise

  1. Nice English cheese sold in monster blocks and really nice pies, sweet or savoury: I bet those are the things the expats crave. Takes me back to Saturday afternoons in the mid 1990s pushing the kids around the newly opened branch on the old Greenalls site in Warrington. Assailed at every turn by the smells of comfort food. The same will be true in Gib.

  2. I do occasional trips back to the UK with the car to stock up on:

    Ambrosia tinned rice pudding
    Custard creams
    Jaffa cakes
    Rowntrees jelly
    Colman’s packet sauces
    Wall’s sausages
    Cheddar cheese
    Branston pickle
    Corned beef
    Tinned ham

    and other stuff that I liked during my student days which is too low-brow for the local M&S to stock.

  3. >There’s that hinterland of hundreds of thousands of expats

    Hundreds OR thousands of them and Spanish Nationals cross the border for work every day, and will often grab a bag of stuff on the way home. Its not just a weekend ritual for the locals. There’s also Eroski, much closer to the border which sells Waitrose stuff.
    The trade also goes the other way; you often see Gibraltarians with either Mercadona (Spanish supermarket similar to Sainsburys) bags or a pull along “granny” basket.

    Products:
    Cheese, Bacon. Neither of which the Spanish seem to get the hang of. And what there is, is expensive.

    Fresh milk for a change from UHT, or for visitors. You can buy this locally, but its also ridiculously expensive.

    Reduced / Bargains. I’ve never, ever seen a “reduced” corner in any of the Spanish supermarkets.

    I’m sure there are loads of other bits and pieces I’ve forgotten about.

  4. I miss Quavers, and fresh milk that isn’t semi-skimmed. Really good thick-cut, apple-smoked back bacon. Proper cheddar (not what the seppos laughingly call ‘cheddar’, which really should be termed ‘cheese-style food product’).

  5. We once had a French exchange pupil to stay with us who returned home with a four-pinter of supermarket milk. And she was from Normandy!

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