Montenegro’s Grocery Retail Market Boosted By Increased Investment

By Branislav Pekic
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Montenegro’s Grocery Retail Market Boosted By Increased Investment

Grocery retail sales in Montenegro grew by 3.3% in 2017, with a 1.3% inflation rate, according to preliminary figures published by the country’s statistical office Montstat.

The Balkan country, which has slightly more than 600,000 inhabitants, has seen grocery prices increase by around 2% since the start of this year, due to the introduction of a new VAT rate.

However, growth is also being driven by increased investment from major retail companies, with five players dominating the grocery market in Montenegro.

Retail Investment

Looking at the major retailers, Voli is the local market leader, with a 28% share. The company, which is owned by local businessman Dragan Bokan, saw turnover of €210 million in 2016, and itoperates a total of 63 food retail stores across the country.

Last November, Voli reopened its Naš Diskont discount hypermarket in Podgorica, featuring a new modern format, as well as a bigger offering, with more than 25,000 SKUs over a sales area of 6,000 square metres. The store will expanded by another 6,000 square metres in the coming months.


The retailer also opened a new logistics centre in Podgorica, following an investment of €11.8 million, with help from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The centre is expected to boost fruit and vegetable production in the country, as Montenegro currently imports more fresh produce than it exports.

After Voli, the second biggest player in Montenegro is Mercator-CG, the local unit of Slovenia’s Mercator Group, which is controlled by Croatian company Agrokor. The retailer achieved turnover of €123 million in 2016, and operates 113 Idea branches in various formats - including neighbourhood stores, supermarkets, hypermarkets and Cash & Carry outlets - in 17 cities and towns across the country.

In 2017, eight stores were opened or renovated, including six in Podgorica, and one each in Budva and Šavnik. The retailer also launched the first online grocery store in Montenegro (Idea Online), offering free delivery on over 8,000 products in Podgorica.

Smaller Players

Podgorica-based Hard Discount Laković (HDL) is the only hard discounter in Montenegro, operating both supermarkets and hypermarkets. It has stores in several cities and towns, including Podgorica, Radanovići, Bar, Sutorina, Berane and Kotor, and had an estimated turnover of €122 million in 2016.


Elsewhere, Franca Marketi is the retail unit of leading Montenegrin meat producer Franca. The group's network consists of 47 supermarkets in 18 cities, with a turnover of €67 million in 2016.

Meanwhile, Domaća Trgovina, which is also present in neighbouring Serbia, is the fifth largest grocery retailer in revenue terms, with turnover of €66 million in 2016. It operates the Aroma Market supermarket chain, which has 43 stores in 13 cities, as well as the Conti discount stores in Bar, Podgorica and Nikšić.

These five companies dominate the Montenegro grocery market, however, there are still several smaller players in the retail sector, with local businesses and convenience stores remaining popular destinations for shoppers.

© 2018 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

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