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Retail chains continue to open stores

EVEN though major retail chains have penetrated nearly every bigger town in Slovakia, merchants do not think that the Slovak market is oversaturated. Several large retail chains plan on opening 10 or more shops annually, the Hospodárske Noviny daily wrote in early November.

EVEN though major retail chains have penetrated nearly every bigger town in Slovakia, merchants do not think that the Slovak market is oversaturated. Several large retail chains plan on opening 10 or more shops annually, the Hospodárske Noviny daily wrote in early November.

“Billa already has 107 supermarkets across Slovakia and during the next few years it plans to open about 10 stores annually,” Jiří Králíček of Billa Slovensko told the daily.

Tesco will also have more than 100 stores operating in Slovakia this year.

“By the end of this year we want to open 15 new stores and customers will be able to do their shopping in a total of 104 Tesco stores,” said Oľga Hrnčiarová, the spokesperson for Tesco in Slovakia.

Experts say the Slovak market is far from being saturated and predict additional growth, especially in smaller towns.

“Compared with neighbouring countries, fewer Slovaks live in towns and, moreover, the character of the country prolongs travelling to do shopping,” said Alexander Rafajlovič of the Cushman & Wakefield real estate consultancy company. “This is one of the reasons why supermarkets and smaller stores play a more important role than hypermarkets.”

Potential for further retail growth is seen in smaller localities with populations greater than 5,000 as well as in the centres of bigger towns. But while some towns are already saturated, for example Nitra and Žilina, Prešov offers the best opportunities right now, when the number of citizens and the total shopping space are compared.

Mayors of Slovak towns confirmed to Hospodárske Noviny that retail chains are looking for new and interesting places to open retail outlets.

Rafajlovič noted that the Slovak retail network is different from other countries as there are fewer international retail chains. Domestic companies such as Coop Jednota, Labaš and shopping alliances like CBA and Bala have a stronger position here, he said, adding that compared with the Czech Republic, which is historically close to Slovakia, retail chains like Interspar, Globus or Penny Market have not yet arrived in Slovakia.

“During the next year or two I do not expect any new entries,” said Rafajlovič to the daily. “But I expect that existing retailers will continue opening new stores and making their networks more dense.”


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