The Overseas Supermarkets story
Overseas Imports started trading in the late 90s when Bryn Robertson (Chairman) started importing goods into Tenerife and selling the goods on to Bars & Restaurants on the island.
Bryn purchased an empty warehouse on a small industrial estate just outside the airport in Las Chafiras. The warehouse was to be the start of Overseas Imports entry into the retail market. The warehouse was to incorporate a 500 pallet cold store, a dry warehouse capable of holding 700 pallets and a supermarket which would offer the public a butchers department and an in-store café.
Bryn negotiated with supermarket chains in the United Kingdom to obtain a sales agreement and assistance from the major supermarket chains. After various meetings, Bryn entered into a working partnership with Iceland Frozen Foods Plc.
At the end of 1997, Garry Richardson joined the company as Managing Director. Garry brought to Overseas Imports a wealth of knowledge and experience, having worked for Iceland Frozen Foods for over 11 years in numerous branches and positions.
The flagship store in Las Chafiras opened during 1998. The store and the brand performed well above our expectations and we finished the year realizing that we had to look at developing the brand and increase our coverage of Tenerife.
During 1999 the retail market remained strong and as a result of this, we opened another store in Los Cristianos. This store was on a much smaller scale but still performed extremely well.
The company spent the latter part of 1999 and the early part of 2000 actively seeking another site for a shop in the Las Americas area of Tenerife. On August 2nd we signed for a shop in Las Americas. The Las Americas shop opened 30 days later and the company had opened shop number three.
During 2000 we also started trading in Gran Canaria to bars, restaurants and supermarkets. We travelled twice per week via the ferry between the islands and it was not long before we realized that we had to open a warehouse in Gran Canaria.
2001 has seen foot and mouth disease affect the wholesale and retail divisions of the company. We were the first company able to import meat products due to our partnership with Iceland Frozen Foods and despite the problems experienced due to foot and mouth we still continued to see sales growth.
In August we opened our warehouse in Arinaga Industrial Zone, Gran Canaria. This warehouse incorporates cold storage, chilled stores and ample dry storage in order to operate as a depot for stores that open in Gran Canaria in the future.
During December 2001 we embarked on a major refurbishment of our flagship store. The layout of the store has been completely changed, making it more customer-friendly. New in-store signage has been installed and new shelving, checkouts and refrigeration have all radically transformed the store into an even bigger, cleaner, fresher looking store.
In July 2006 we refurbished the Los Cristianos store which now offers a much bigger range of products and is much cleaner and brighter than before. So far everyone has expressed their delight at the changes made.
During 2006 we commenced trading with the Waitrose group. We started off very slowly but we gradually introduced more and more lines into the business and now stock more than 1,000 Waitrose lines in the Spanish stores.
In February we opened our biggest store yet in Mijas Spain. This store incorporated all the existing products available in Las Chafiras as well as new and exciting products direct from the United Kingdom, including the introduction of fresh fruit and vegetables and fresh meat and poultry.
In December 2007 we opened an even bigger flagship store in Benissa in Spain. This has underground parking as well and with a sales floor of over 1300m² was the largest store yet for the company. This was our first steps onto the Costa Blanca.
In July 2008 we opened the largest shop to date. With nearly 100 freezers and the largest range ever of dry goods and chilled, this store plays a major role in supplying a very happy Ex-Pat community in the Torrevieja area.
In December 2008 the company extended the store in Mijas by over 50%. It was a last minute rush before Christmas as usual and the company worked 24 hours to ensure we were able to provide all our clients with the largest choice of Christmas products on the Costa del Sol.
The company increased like for like sales by over 20% this year. We reacted to the economic climate both in the United Kingdom and Spain. When the value of the pound dropped we dropped our prices. This is why we managed such a big increase in 2008.
La Marina (San Fulgencio), San Javier and Javea all Opened in the first six months of this year. We now have six shops in Mainland Spain with a further 2 stores signed up for 2010.
This year we opened a brand new store on the outskirts of Benidorm. The Company has purchased a new office facility in the Costa Blanca region to strengthen our Logistics and buying team for the new stores.
This has been an amazing year for Overseas Imports. The company has continued to grow and go from strength to strength. On the 16th February, we opened our long awaited Puerto Banus store which was closely followed by a new store in Vera, Almeria on the 31st March both of which have been really well received. Overseas then took its first steps into Portugal on the 9th November by opening a store in Guia, Albufeira on The Algarve. This store exceeded all expectations and has been so well-received by all communities. On the back of this success Overseas have plans for more stores to help improve their coverage of Portugal. November also saw the launch of our Overseas Bonus card as well as the opening of another new store in Las Americas, Tenerife on the 30th November.
Overseas Opened a Consolidation Warehouse in the UK to handle the Logistics of the Growing Business. This was used to try to reduce the amount of Road trucks moving down to Spain from various suppliers.
We opened a buying office in the North of England in order to obtain a more varied range of products at market-beating prices. This was a tough year as Tourism was flat and Lots of Ex-Pats had left and gone back to the UK. The Company worked hard at changing systems and procedures in our business to try to keep the Business streamlined. We introduced Keith Lewis as the Commercial Director and Richard Williams as head of Merchandising. This Strengthened the Team for future expansion plans.
We added the Torviscas shop Opposite the Water Park in Tenerife at the end of this year.
We have relocated the Benidorm Store to the Rincon part of the town. This was done in a matter of days and the new store is performing well above expectations and we are busier in Benidorm than we have ever been.
We have relayed our Mijas shop and have Refurbishment planned for Javea, Torrevieja and San Fulgencio this year.
The Warehouse in the UK has continued to grow and we are now processing Chilled/Frozen and Dry Goods from this site.
New Store opening – 1st September 2015 – Playa Honda – Lanzarote
New Store Opening – In mainland Spain, we opened: Sotogrande and in Canarian Islands in Tenerife – Torviscas
A busy year, In mainland Spain, we opened: Campoverde and Calahonda. Portugal saw it’s 2nd store open in – Portimao. Plus our 3rd store in Lanzarote – Playa Blanca
Express Stores were launched and New stores opened in: Moraira / Guadalmina / Cabo Roig. And finally our first store in Ibiza opened in San Antonio.
Coronavirus hits – All Overseas Stores and Head Office staff remained operational throughout and always maintaining security measures.
Brexit becomes a reality and amidst the confusion, we continue to supply as normally as possible.
After many years, we modernized our website.