Retail sales in Croatia have been growing consistently since September 2014, boosted by an increase in personal consumption, a study has found.
One of the factors that has contributed to the growth has been Croatia’s membership of the EU which it joined in July 2013.
In addition, Croatian retailers have already built up a strong network of stores and selling space.
Some regions, particularly the capital Zagreb, show levels of selling space per inhabitant that are higher than in some Western European cities, according to a report by Euromonitor International.
In a positive for the sector, retail grocery leader Agrokor suffered from financial overexposure in 2017, but has navigated through the extraordinary administration process, and will shortly exit this process with a new name (Fortenova Group) and new management.
The major players in Croatian retail, as well as Agrokor-owned Konzum, include Lidl, Plodine, Kaufland, Spar and Tommy.
An important feature of the market is the strong presence in certain parts of Croatia of local and regional players, such as Studenac, KTC, Lonia and Ribola.
However, despite the sector being in rude health, more than 1,200 traditional grocery retailer outlets closed between 2013 and 2018, and another 370 stores are expected to be lost over the coming period.
The sector also saw a slowdown in growth at the end of last year, ending December 2018 with a 4.7% year-on-year growth in nominal terms and 4.0% in real terms. The food, beverages and tobacco segment grew 2.9%, while non-food grew by 6.7%, according to data from Croatia’s State Statistics Bureau.
This was slightly below full-year growth, which was 5.4% in nominal terms and 3.9% in real terms.
All categories saw revenue growth except small independent grocery retailers (-0.4%), which account for 5.6% of the total market.
© 2019 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.