Middle Class out Shopping in Tehran

This posting is about the shopping wonder that is Hyperstar, a middle class shopping mall built by the French firm, Carrefour, in 2009 in western Tehran. If there was ever a doubt that a middle class of significant size exists in Iran, this puts it to bed. There sure is a middle class, and they have money to spend!

After just a few weeks in Iran, it is clear shopping can get complicated. Being used to one-stop shopping whether it be department store or supermarket, shopping in dozens of small shops, miles apart, can be time-consuming and wearying. Step into the frame, Hyperstar. By reputation at least, this place is owned by a Saudi (yes, you heard it right) businessman. And it is a goldmine for him. Open 0930-2330 everyday of the week including Fridays, the store is always packed.

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Whether it is an esky (a pet love of Aussies), fresh milk, roast chickens, children’s toys, an iPod dock, or , Hyperstar has it.Image

Located in Kooy-e-Eram just off the Bakeri Expressway South (on the western side just below W Ferdos Blvd, but before you reach the Tehran-Karaj Freeway) Hyperstar is immediately recognisable to those familiar with the famous French supermarket brand, Carrefour. The sign looks just like the <C> for Carrefour, but with an ‘H’. You can spot it a mile away…. well, a good hundred yards before you need to exit. When you exit, continue west 100m and you will find dedicated parking.

On entering, you find yourself in a modern little shopping mall with underground parking, food court, a few specialty stores, and an enormous Hyperstar which combines department store and supermarket.

It boasts, inter alia, fresh fish, nuts, meat, bakery, electricals, baby, kitchenware, BBQ and outdoor, car stuff, groceries, AV, stationery, whitegoods (stoves, microwaves, washers, etc). A range of imported products are available (although not like in the bazaar stalls where the primo coffee can be found). I found Dove, Johnson and Johnson, Nivea, Coca Cola, Pepsi, HP, Epson, and more.

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The food court has ice cream (ubiquitous in Tehran), fish and chips (advertising cod, but who knows), Turkish, burgers, kebab, and Iranian food.

Remember, foreign cards do not work anywhere in Tehran, so when you reach the checkout at Hyperstar, and the zeros start being piled on, cash is not just king, cash is the sole occupant. My little outing cost just shy of 4 million Rhials. For those who don’t get the conversion, 100 USD is about 3.3.million Rhials. But I will get into currency questions another day…it is more complicated than it seems.

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Suffice to say for now, this place is a saviour for those needing some western-style shopping rather than tiny corner shops and bazaars, and wanting to find a huge range of things under one roof. And then finish the shopping with a fresh lemonade-mojito (sans alcohol, of course) juice.

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