Sales Representative in Portugal

Overview by

Commercial Intermediaries

Trading Companies
  • Type of Organization
Being listed with trading groups is an obligatory step for breaking into the hypermarket sales market. The cost of getting onto the listing can be substantial and promotional operations are at the supplier's expense. The distributors do not negotiate with foreign suppliers, making it necessary to go through a Portuguese intermediary (a non-manufacturing importer, a manufacturer of similar products or a service company). Trading companies also supply the markets of some Portuguese-speaking African countries, and Portugal thus serves as a logistic and commercial platform.
  • Main Actors
Five buying groups account for 90% of supplier purchases: Sonae, which recently bought Carrefour Portugal, and increased its weight in local distribution, Auchan, Jerónimo Martins and Intermarché. For a department store listing, there is also El Corte Inglés in Lisbon and Porto.
  • Type of Organization
There are two main types of company:
- companies specializing in a range of products: meat, dairy products (for example Sogenave) or wine (Vinalda)
- national cooperatives, which serve retailers all over the country (for example Grupac, a wholesalers' group for foodstuffs, CNR).
  • Main Actors
CNR (confederaçao nacional Retalho)
GCT-Gestão Comercio total
Useful Resources
Portuguese Association of Distribution Companies (APED)
Portuguese Logistics Association (APLOG)
Distribuiçao Hoje (Magazine about distribution)

Using a Commercial Agent

The Advantages
More realistic for a small or medium enterprise as concerns marketing strategy. Most often they are exclusive agents for the whole country.They are also often distributors/importers for other ranges of products. The agent is quite rare and limited to a few sectors such as chemical products, industrial products and high-tech components, and some foodstuffs (dried fruit, some food additives).
Where to Be Vigilant
The agent should be chosen for his motivation, his interest in the product, his references and the range of products he is in charge of. Supplementary commercial investments will be necessary to support the agent's work (catalogs, samples of products, etc.)
Elements of Motivation
The rate of commission is an important element for motivation. Recourse to a system of contests and competition between agents is sometimes practised and supervision and close contact may be necessary for a good follow-up of the agent's activity.
The Average Amount of Commission
An agent on commission is paid according to the turnover he achieves.
Breach of Contract
The termination of an agency contract is carried out with one month's notice during the first year, two months' notice the second year, and three months' notice the third and following years. The agent is entitled to compensation if he is not the cause of the breach of contract.
Finding a Commercial Agent
ACL, Lisbon Commercial Association
CCI Porto, Porto Commercial Association
Find Sales and Distribution Service Providers in Portugal on

Setting Up a Commercial Unit

The Advantages
Being present on the market, controlling the networks, lower labor costs.
Where to Be Vigilant
The procedures for setting up a company were considerably simplified last year. However, some processes continue to be rather slow and demanding, such as getting authorizations from town halls or municipal services or the follow up of work (if it is necessary to build or fit out installations).
Different Possible Forms of Settlement
  • A Representative Office
A representative office may be necessary to obtain market, or other, data and provide promotional support. However, a representative office cannot be involved in commercial transactions or generate income, and so it cannot manage orders directly.
  • A Branch Office
A branch office can take and fill orders and carry out a marketing or advertising program, recruit the sales force and carry out promotional activities. Setting up a branch office is considered a direct investment and must be declared to the Portuguese Ministry of Finance.
  • A Company
Setting up a subsidiary takes time and is expensive. However, it offers a better guarantee of protection for the registered trade mark, of obtaining credit and of breaking into the market. The Portuguese Ministry of the Economy has created centers for setting up companies in order to shorten the process. For further information, visit the Empresa Na Hora website and the Business Formalities Centre (CFE) website.


Evolution of the Sector
Franchising is increasingly widespread in Portugal, while the sectors concerned are more and more varied: dry cleaning, real estate, sport, beauty, dental care, food, fashion, nutritional therapy, anti-tobacco clinics, travel agencies, spas, language schools, etc.

The Portuguese Franchising Institute as well as the two annual trade shows in Portugal are supervised by the IFE company (International Faculty for Executives).

The two franchising trade shows in Portugal are: Expofranchise in Lisbon in May and Franchiseshow in Porto in October.

Some Big Franchises
List of the largest franchises
For Further Information
Franchising portal
ANJE, National Association of young businessmen
APF, Portuguese Franchising Association

Finding Assistance

Export Trading Companies
Cavex, Agrifood, fur trade, industrial equipment, wood, products for the public buildings and works sector, etc.
Escom, Espírito Santo Group
Azinor, Public buildings and works, pharmaceuticals, food, clothes, etc., a very wide spectrum of activity
Vinalda, Wines and spirits
Recommended Resource
Pedro Guerra
Campo grande, 46 - 8º esq
1700-093 Lisboa
Tél : 00.351.210133542
Activities :
- consultant in foreign trade
- training in Portuguese, as a foreign language and business language, marketing
- translator Portuguese-French and French-Portuguese (Diploma of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Paris)
Find more on about Selling to Portugal.

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