The 2020 financial performance of the four largest grocery retailers in Montenegro have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, new data has shown.
According to data from Montenegro’s Internal Revenue Service, and reported by Investitor.me, the four chains, which account for almost half of retail market, achieved overall revenues of €512.9 million, or 12.26% less than a year earlier.
Market leader Voli achieved revenue of €215 million, down 10% year-on-year. The group opened five new outlets of various formats in Danilovgrad, Plav, Budva, Podgorica and Zeta, investing over €10 million.
Voli introduced a new e-commerce service, Voli.me, last December, initially in Podgorica, before extending coverage to Zeta and Tuzi in March 2021, offering over 4,500 SKUs.
The retailer has denied rumours that it plans to sell its business to Lidl, which is not yet present in Montenegro, stressing that it will focus on expanding in the region together with EBRD, which has a 15.7% stake in the company.
Local hypermarket chain Hard Diskont Lakovic (HDL) revenues dropped 13.1% year-on-year, ending 2020 with €136.3 million. The chain continued to expand its presence, opening the biggest hypermarket in the coastal city of Budva last November, with 3,000 square metres of retail space
The third biggest player is Slovenian retail group Mercator, which is also the only foreign player on the local grocery retail market. It reported a turnover of €91.96 million (-10.1%).
Mercator operates 125 Idea supermarkets in 19 municipalities, making it the most widespread chain in Montenegro. Recent new openings includes Niksic and three stores in the capital Podgorica (Stari Aerodrom, Zabjela and Vukasin Markovic).
Last year, a new store concept, Idea Gourmet Market, was rolled out in Herceg-Novi. The 400 square metre store offers high quality products, Asian flavours, local specialties and organic products.
The biggest drop in sales was registered by local retail group Domaća Trgovina, which operates the Aroma Market (also present in Serbia) and Conto stores. Turnover in 2020 amounted to €69.6 million (-19.2%).
The company slowed down the expansion of its network compared previous years, opening only one store in 2020 (Podgorica - Blok 9). Since the start of 2021, it has focused on modernising existing outlets, opening three refurbished Aroma Market stores in Podgorica, Dobrota and Budva.
© 2021 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Branislav Pekic. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine