Croatian retailer Studenac Market has invested in employee training, an IT systems upgrade and customer communications initiatives ahead of the country's transition to the euro currency, which commences on 1 January 2023.
From September 5, all prices in Croatia must be displayed in both the local kuna currency and the euro, however euro notes and coins will not be accepted until 1 January. For the first two weeks of the year, customers will be able to use either currency, and those paying in kuna will receive their change in euros, while kuna pricing will continue to be displayed until the end of the year.
According to Studenac, the investments are necessary during this transition period in order to ensure that its stores and employees are up to speed on how to handle the currency change – as part of its efforts, some seven million price labels will need to be printed to display both kuna and euro pricing.
'A Huge Change'
“This is a huge change for all of Croatian society, as well as for Studenac as one of the country’s leading retail chains,” commented Studenac chief financial officer Michał Halwa.
“Fortunately, there are several factors working in our favor, including familiarity with the euro among the majority of Croatians. For our part, we’re working hard to ensure a smooth transition for our employees and our customers.”
Halwa added that distributing euro notes and coins to its entire store network will be "a challenge", adding that the Omiš-based retailer is working closely with banks and security companies to ensure a smooth changeover.
"We also need to manage our stocks of kuna cash at the end of December, because after January 1 we won’t be able to give them back to customers as change," he said. "Also, because of the denominations of the two currencies, with the euro we’ll be using a lot more coins than with the kuna.”
Studenac, which has a presence in 17 of Croatia's 20 counties, as well as the capital Zagreb, recently expanded its operations with the acquisition of rival Lonia Trgovina, adding 300 stores to its network and taking its total store count to more than 1,000 outlets.