Covid-19 has hit the Slovak economy significantly, but not all economic sectors have suffered declines. As the Largest in Business ranking by The Slovak Spectator suggests, while lockdown halted production lines at four carmakers for weeks during 2020, other sectors thrived, like retail chains or logistics companies.
Retail chains: awaited change at the top materialised
5 largest retail chains
5. Metro Cash & Carry
The detailed results are available in the Largest in Business yearbook.
One of those businesses that booked higher revenues were retail chains, despite facing enormous challenges due to the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020.
The chains switched to day-to-day crisis management, assessed the situation on a daily basis and took adequate measures so as to protect the health of employees and customers. Restricted mobility pushed people to shop online to a larger extent.
“This was one of the most important challenges,” Matej Horňák, analyst of Slovenská Sporiteľňa bank, told The Slovak Spectator. “Competition in the online environment has intensified significantly, processes are smoother and a big number of people are sticking to online shopping even after the pandemic has subsided.”
2020 brought a change in what was until then the stable ranking of retail chains. Lidl Slovenská Republika overtook the long-term number one, Tesco Stores SR. While Lidl managed to push up revenues by €141 million or 10 percent to €1.51 billion over 2020, Tesco's revenues plummeted by almost €40 million or 3 percent to €1.39 billion.
“2020 was a year like none before,” Martin Kuruc, general director of Tesco in Slovakia told The Slovak Spectator. In total, Tesco operates 154 shops across the country.
Customer demand varied during the first year of the pandemic, reflected in Tesco's fluctuating sales. This, in combination with significant expenses to ensure the safety of customers and employees, affected their financial results. Even so, they managed to open three new supermarkets – in Turany, Bratislava’s Petržalka and in Banská Bystrica. Tesco also launched the new Galéria shopping centre in Petržalka. Kuruc described it as Tesco's biggest investment in Slovakia since 2017, without specifying the exact sum. In late 2020, Tesco extended its online shop, making it available to more than 2.8 million people or more than 1 million households.