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What follows is a small selection of popular self-service furniture, appliance and DIY hardware chain stores found in the more developed regions of Brazil and in particular, São Paulo.
There is no guarantee that staff will speak English in these stores. However, those undertaking an overall refurbishment of their home who have enlisted the help of an architect or interior designer may find that these professionals may be able to help when shopping. Those without hired help will find that once they have found what they need, little more than basic Portuguese should be necessary for the transaction. The larger home appliance and office furniture stores will generally have an English speaker on the staff.
To find the nearest branch of a store, check in the regional equivalent of the Yellow Pages, or on the store website.
The southeast is Brazil’s most developed region and thus the larger DIY and supermarket chains have concentrated their stores there. The large chain stores can be found in the more remote regions, for example in the northeast or north, but are limited to large urban centres. As it is the fastest expanding city in Latin America, São Paulo has a large number of construction mega-stores.
Like many purchases in Brazil, payments can be divided into installments of up to 20 payments depending upon the value of the article.
Supermarkets in Brazil sell a wide range of domestically produced household goods, including meats, alcoholic beverages, dairy products and packaged goods, as well as cleaning products, clothing, white goods, electrical appliances, leisure items and garden furniture.
Carrefour: French chain Carrefour has a number of hypermarkets spread across São Paulo state selling a large range of household goods, including white goods, electrical appliances such as televisions, refrigerators, cookers, microwaves, as well as tools, garden equipment, toys, basic furniture, groceries and clothing.
Extra: The Extra chain has hypermarkets upstate that provide goods and services similar to the range carried by Carrefour. The Extra stores are often developed as part of a complex, with a number of smaller satellite stores offering services from key-cutting to hairdressing, mobile phones to dog grooming, all on the same site.
Pão de Açucar: This is the leading domestic supermarket chain in São Paulo state, the Pão de Açucar group also owns the ‘Sé’ supermarkets. As well as basic food and drink products (fruit, fresh fish, meat, dairy products, tinned foods, cereals, wine, spirits and beer), the Pão de Açucar stores carry a number of lines of more upscale products, including chocolates and delicatessen items. The chain offers Internet shopping and home delivery services.
Etna: A large home, office and garden furnishings store serving the higher end of the market with both well-known and designer brands. Located in the capital and Campinas, these large stores carry a large range of products, including TVs and sofas, cutlery, dishwashers, garden furniture and office furniture. However, the store tends to carry a limited number of options within each category.
Tok & Stok: A South and Southeast-based chain store offering home and office furnishings and accessories in the mid-price range. The stores aim to be well stocked in its offering of products for the home with items including pine shelving, office furniture, lamps, coffee tables, bedside tables, sofas, chairs, dining tables, curtains, carpets and soft-furnishings.
Casas Bahia: Casas Bahia offers a large range of brand name, Brazilian-manufactured furniture, home electronics and white goods. Every year prior to Christmas, the store takes over the capital’s main events centre to open a hyperstore with special offers and discounts on TVs, DVDs, washing machines, fridges and more.
Ponto Frio: White goods and home electronics retailer stocking major Brazilian and imported brands. The chain often runs seasonal promotions.
Leroy Merlin: The Leroy Merlin chain has the largest number of DIY stores in Brazil, mostly located in the Southwest and Midwest regions. Sales assistants, trained in specific areas of the construction and refurbishment industries, provide specialist advice. The extensive product offering ranges from light bulbs to industrial capacity water tanks.
Casa & Construção (C&C): C&C offers hardware and building supplies such as windows, doors, bricks, mortar, wooden beams, flooring, tiles, ladders, power tools and sinks. The stores also offer designer products and personalised goods for home decoration and refurbishment.
Telhanorte: A hardware and construction materials chain with two types of stores - stores for DIYers and stores aimed at professionals. The majority of locations provide the personal homemaker or interior designer with accessories and decorating materials. A limited number of mega-stores mainly serve builders and offer raw materials such as screws or cement in bulk, as well as rentals of heavy duty power tools.
Kalunga: The most extensive stationery and office supply (papelaria) chain of stores in the country. Kalunga provides wholesale and retail services for the Southeast and Midwest regions. The stores have a wholesale warehouse layout and stock paper, paints, printer cartridges, office furniture, home electronics, computers and much more.
Americanas: Although not necessarily a specialist, the Americanas stores have an extensive array of stationery. Stores also stock stickers, crayons, writing paper, office furniture, home electronics, clothing and sports and leisure items.
Rua Santa Ifigênia: The Rua Santa Ifigênia district in the centre of São Paulo has over 500 small stores selling games, laptops, remote controls, mobile phones and other electronics as well as more obscure items for the information technology sector. Many shoppers believe good deals can be found here.
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