French retailer Intermarché (part of Les Mousquetaires group) is leaving Serbia, selling its nine supermarkets to local rival Aman.
The deal has received the green light from Serbia’s Commission for the Protection of Competition. According to the antitrust authority, the implementation of the acquisition will not obstruct, restrict or distort competition on the local market, as after the deal Aman will only hold a 5 to 10 per cent market share in Belgrade.
Intermarché has been present in Serbia through local brand Interex since 2004 when it opened its first supermarket in Čačak. Other stores were later opened in Čačak, Belgrade (2), Niš, Obrenovac, Zaječar, Šabac and Valjevo.
Aman was set up in 1992 by Jordanian-born Nedal Khalil, but started its expansion in 2008, increasing the number of stores in Belgrade and surrounding areas. It subsequently acquired discount chain SOS Market in 2012 (32 stores) and, more recently, Višnjica Dučani, which operates several neighbourhood stores in Belgrade.
Aman’s retail network is based on three formats (Hard Discount, Target and Aman Market) and currently consists of 138 small stores located mostly in Belgrade, as well as in surrounding areas (Stara Pazova, Indjija, Pančevo and Lajkovac).
Significantly, the deal will enable Aman to expand the size of its stores (Interex’s stores typically have 1000-1500 m2 of space), as well as gain a foothold in other Serbian cities outside of Belgrade.
After leaving Serbia, Intermarché’s will no longer have a presence in the former Yugoslavia, as last year it sold its 24 stores in Bosnia and Herzegovina (to local retailer Bingo) and one in Kosovo. Previously, in 2012, the company left the Romanian market.
Another French retailer, Casino Group, is still present in Serbia, with two stores in Belgrade (under the Casino and Market formats), operated under franchise with local partner Sodibal Group.
© 2015 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Branislav Pekic. To subscribe to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine, click here.