Coronavirus – Retail & FMCG Updates From Central & Eastern Europe

By Steve Wynne-Jones
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Coronavirus – Retail & FMCG Updates From Central & Eastern Europe

As part of our efforts to keep you, the ESM reader, notified on the latest coronavirus-related developments in the retail and consumer goods sectors, here are the latest news updates from Central & Eastern Europe. Click the link in each snippet to view the full story. To return to the map, click here.

South Africa's Spar Group has said that both its domestic and Europe-based operations have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, saying that it expects the remainder of the year to be 'extremely challenging' in all retail markets.

The calendar-adjusted sales in services in the Czech Republic saw a 4.3% year-on-year decline in the first quarter of 2020, according to data from SOCR ČR, the Czech commerce and tourism confederation.

Increasing numbers of Polish retailers are calling for an easing of Sunday trading restrictions, due to the impact of the coronavirus crisis on their businesses, according to a report by BIK, Poland's Credit Information Bureau.

Carrefour Polska has announced that it will implement additional services in its stores to enhance customers’ shopping experience during the coronavirus pandemic.


Ukraine, one of world's top grain exporters, is ready to ban wheat exports if sales exceed limits agreed with traders, the deputy economy minister in charge of agriculture told Reuters.

Carrefour Polska has added a new feature on its website that forecasts store traffic in all outlets across Poland as the country faces an outbreak of coronavirus.

Maxima Latvija is continuing to introduce even stricter measures to ensure social distancing in stores, with the company periodically closing separate stores during the day to regulate the flow of shoppers.

Carrefour and Glovo, an online delivery service app, have announced plans to officially join forces in Poland.


Russian retailers have seen a sharp spike in alcohol sales in recent weeks, with consumers rushing to buy vodka, whiskey and beer at a time when Moscow and other regions have imposed partial lockdowns to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

Hungarian think tank GKI's consumer confidence indicator posted its biggest monthly fall in nearly three decades in April amid the coronavirus pandemic, GKI has said in a statement.

Spar Croatia has expanded its cooperation agreements with an additional 60 small-scale agricultural producers across the country, which are facing supply chain challenges due to the coronavirus.

Ukrainian wheat exports from sea ports almost halved to 138,000 tonnes in the week of 28 March - 3 April from 277,000 tonnes a week earlier, preliminary data from the APK-Inform consultancy has revealed.


Polish retailer Eurocash Group has announced plans to employ more than 2,000 people in its stores, warehouses and distribution centres amid an outbreak of COVID-19 in the country.

Large-scale retail chains in Serbia saw an average 61% increase in consumer goods sales during the third week of March compared to the same period in 2019, as a result of increased purchasing due to COVID-19.

The president of UOKiK, the Polish competition authority, Tomasz Chróstny, has said that his office is doing what it can to combat "unjustified" food price increases relating to the coronavirus scare.

Ukrainian retailer Silpo has announced the allocation of UAH 100 million (€3.3 million) towards the purchase of hospital equipment and medical supplies, amidst the growing coronavirus epidemic.


State-run Ukrainian grain firm DPZKU has around 100,000 tonnes of wheat in stock and is ready to ensure domestic needs for flour are met amid a surge in demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the company has said.

Stock Spirits Group has announced that it has started manufacturing hand sanitisers at its production facility in Pilsen, Czech Republic.

Serbian households spent RSD 2 billion (€17 million) more on food, drink, personal care and household cleaning items in the three weeks to 15 March compared to a year earlier, according to a report in local daily Danas.

Russia will sell 1 million tonnes of grain from its state stockpile on the domestic market to ensure supplies and keep prices down amid the coronavirus pandemic, the agriculture ministry has said.

Carrefour Polska has announced plans to keep the prices of around 150 private-label products unchanged despite an increase in demand for essential items due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Russia's agriculture ministry has proposed to limit grain exports for three months prompting concern among traders that the measures by the world's largest wheat exporter could be extended.

Spar Hungary has imposed restrictions on the volume of purchases of essential items as the country announced a state of emergency due to the coronavirus crisis.

Croatian retailer Konzum has said that it will open additional sales channels for local producers affected by the closure of greengrocers in the country due to COVID-19.

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has asked the agriculture ministry and other officials to prepare proposals on whether exports of any food, essential products or medicine should be limited, the government said on Monday.

Poland plans to temporarily lift its Sunday shopping ban, private Radio Zet has said, citing the government's plans, in a move seen as a measure to prevent too many people doing groceries at once.

Russia could limit exports of some food products if the coronavirus outbreak leads to a shortage, its officials said, adding that the domestic agriculture market remains stable and no deficit of grain was expected.

The president of SOCR ČR, the Confederation of Commerce and Tourism of the Czech Republic, has said that panic buying due to fears over coronavirus is "unnecessary", adding that the country's retailers are well-stocked with food and non-food products.

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