Shopping & Retail
Chile offers a modern retail experience with two main hypermarket chains and lots of department stores. Local companies have mostly been successful at fending off competition from abroad while they're expanding into neighbor countries such as Argentina.
While prices are not as aggressive as those found in the US,seasonal sales occur in the mall stores and sale circulars(especially by Jumbo) are distributed "Big box" specialty retailers such as Bed Bath & Beyond or Lowe's don't really exist in Chile, the retail experience is similar to what you'll see in Western Europe at cheaper prices. Prices for most products include the 19% IVA value added tax.
Chilean retailers have been aggressively getting into credit with store credit cards, reaching poorer people that were ignored by traditional banks. They typically offer "discounts" upfront but have high interest rates.
People who have only been exposed to US customer service may find that retailers and manufacturers won't bend over backwards on topics such as product returns and warranties.
Please Visit: Chile Customer Service and Consumer Rights for Tips, Tricks, and your Rights related to Customer service Issues in Chile
Hypermarkets and Supermarkets
Two main conglomerates (Cencosud SA and D&S) compete with their Lider and Jumbo brands while smaller formats exist too such as Santa Isabel. Jumbo seems a notch higher-end and expensive. Jumbo and Lider both carry more international products and are more likely to carry wider selections of products. Jumbo is especially aggressive with advertising, handing out and delivering sales flyers(OFERTA INSUPERABLE) with one or two items below market price to lure customers.
These stores have a bit of everything and tend to dominate retail as hypermarkets are still mainly focused on food and basic necessities while specialist stores don't have enough selection breadth and depth to stand out from generalists.
Beds and mattresses
from forum thread http://www.allchile.net/chileforum/topic6981.html
One of a kind items, discontinued lines, returned or slightly damaged products, can be found in different outlets from the major retail stores and some manufacturers retail outlets, priced less than regular retail. In Santiago you will find:
- Hites "bodega" on the corner of Irarrazaval and Vicuña Mackenna
- Rosen on Irarrazaval at the 1700 next to the Teatro California
- Whirlpool appliances on Vicuña Mackenna with Maule
- Din on Irarrazaval with P. de Valdivia
- Ripley on Irarrazaval with JM Infante and on San Diego with Tarapaca
- Falabella on Manuel Rodriguez with Rosas
- Johnson's on Santa Rosa with Victoria
Many US online retailers will not ship to foreign addresses. Package forwarding services exist to receive and forward the package(s) to Chile.
US Online retailers that ship to Chile
For those that would like to shop online and have supplies shipped directly, there are retailers that do ship to Chile but the shipping costs are high.