Delvita supermarket leads stampede

The year 1998 will be remembered in real estate circles as a boom time for the construction of supermarkets, hypermarkets and shopping malls in Slovakia. In Bratislava last year alone, the Bottova shopping centre, a reconstructed Prior department store, the Soravia mall and two Billa discount food stores were opened.
According to real estate experts, 1999 promises to be just as busy as international shopping mall companies move in to the Slovak market. Igor Fedoroňko, co-director of Bratislavská Realitná Kancelaria, said that his firm knew of several international shopping centre investors who, reassured by recent political changes, are preparing to take the plunge into Slovakia next year.


Delvita is just the first of many shopping centres set to open in 1999.
photo: Soňa Bellušová

The year 1998 will be remembered in real estate circles as a boom time for the construction of supermarkets, hypermarkets and shopping malls in Slovakia. In Bratislava last year alone, the Bottova shopping centre, a reconstructed Prior department store, the Soravia mall and two Billa discount food stores were opened.

According to real estate experts, 1999 promises to be just as busy as international shopping mall companies move in to the Slovak market. Igor Fedoroňko, co-director of Bratislavská Realitná Kancelaria, said that his firm knew of several international shopping centre investors who, reassured by recent political changes, are preparing to take the plunge into Slovakia next year.

"Foreign investors were unsure about Slovak purchasing power," Ferdoroňko said, "as Bratislava is located only 60 km from Vienna, which was swarmed by Slovak buyers. They doubted the revenue. But this year will be different as foreign investors who have had positive experiences in the Czech Republic have become interested in starting projects in Bratislava and then other Slovak cities."

The newest shopping centre project is a supermarket opened December 4 in Petržalka. Financed by the Belgian company Delhaize with its Slovak branch Delvita Slovakia, the Delvita Centre aimed to capitalise on the high purchasing power of Petržalka citizens.

Karin Petrikovitsová, spokesperson of Delvita's Czech branch, said that "the first hypermarket [a massive single building shopping centre where almost anything can be bought] opened was the German-financed Globus in Brno, Czech Republic, in 1996. Foreign companies were simply waiting for a better situation in both the Czech Republic and Slovakia to begin to expand, but last year purchasing power rose."

In 1999, Delvita plans to open "other" supermarkets in "other" Slovak cities, but would provide no further details of location or timing. The typical new Delvita supermarket will occupy from 1,200 to 1,500 m2 of ground area and will have 150 free parking spaces. The new Petržalka store is 950 m2 in size, has 5,000 "food and non-food" products on sale, which is about 4,000 products less than in each of Delvita's 54 Czech Republic stores.

Petržalka's supermarket is actually a reconstructed potraviny (grocery store). Petrikovitsová said Delvita thought it was a good idea to put a supermarket in a location where people were used to doing their shopping.

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