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Central and Eastern Europe: key Q2 retail developments

How are the market leaders in Central and Eastern Europe shaping their growth strategies for future success?

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In this update, Senior Retail Analyst Harriet Cohen takes a look at the latest market entries, investment plans and new concepts from retailers across Central and Eastern Europe.

Market entries and investments

Leading the investment in Central and Eastern Europe is Lidl, who is set to open ten new outlets in Romania this year. Along with expansion into Lithuania – its 27th market – this will help the discounter break the 200 store mark by the end of 2016.

Elsewhere in the region:

  • X5 has announced plans to open 150 stores over the next two years in Siberia, where Mercator has also invested over €7m in the last three months
  • Kaufland has implement six new concepts in stores across Bucharest and is planning to invest €100m in 2016 on store openings and refurbishment
  • In Turkey, subject to approval from local competition authorities, A101 is set to acquire the Istanbul-based Çağrı chain, which operates around 45 compact hypermarkets, neighbourhood stores and discount stores

New store concepts

A new one on us, Migros is trialling a new ‘floating full-service store’ called Migros Deniz Market (Migros Sea Market), servicing the Turkish coastal areas of Fethiye and Göcek. It offers a retail space of over 2,000 sq. m and stocks over 500 items, including non-food, fresh produce, meat, bakery and deli goods, and is designed to offer access to groceries for those off-shore.

Source: Migros TV YouTube channel

In Poland, Carrefour is to launch its first premium store called Białołęka Market, featuring a meat smoker, ripening room and a wide range of French, American and Italian products.


It’s not the first time the French multinational has trialled a premium banner; it has another called Carrefour Gourmet Milano in Milan, Italy.

Online and technology

Online, digital and technology continue to be areas of investment for CEE, as they are for retailers world-wide.

  • In Hungary, Rossman has launched a new mobile app, which offers 10,000 products for sale
  • Biedronka in Poland is trialling a 24/7 grocery vending machine outside of its store in Wroclaw, providing essential grocery items including milk, eggs, cheese and pet food products
  • A new ‘electronic nose’ tool that allows shoppers to check the quality and freshness of products is being trialled at Maxima in Lithuania

Legislation affecting retail

We mentioned the Russian governments’ ban on the import of certain foods from the EU and selected other Western markets in our last Central and Eastern Europe update, and this is still in place, having been extended until the end of 2017.

To the west in Poland, the government has approved a new retail tax, which is expected to be implemented from September. As a result, retailers in Poland will pay 0.8% on monthly revenues between PLN 17m (€3.85m) and PLN 170m (€38.55m) and 1.4% on sales exceeding PLN 170m (€38.55m) per month as initially planned. Revenues below PLN 17m (€3.85m) per month will be tax free.

So while some retailers continue to streamline their portfolios and drive efficiency in the region, it is clear that many are maintaining investment, and we look forwards to seeing how the market will develop in the rest of 2016.

In the meantime, to keep up to date with all the latest developments in Europe and the rest of the world, check out our Retail Analysis service, your single source of intelligence on over 400 leading retailers and more than 100 developing markets.

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