Serbian Retailers Shift Focus To Neighbourhood, Convenience Stores

By Branislav Pekic
Share this article
Serbian Retailers Shift Focus To Neighbourhood, Convenience Stores

Over the past year, neighbourhood and convenience stores have increasingly gained popularity in Serbia.

This was a result of increased investments by large retailers such as Delhaize Serbia and Mercator-S, but also by smaller, growing retail companies, including Gomex, Persu and Aroma Market.

Zrenjanin-based Gomex opened 16 new stores last year, including ones in Pančevo, Kovin, Vršac, Zrenjanin and Subotica, as well as several refurbished stores.

The company’s strategy is geared towards stores of 200-500 square metres in size, mostly in the northern province of Vojvodina, offering between 3,000 to 5,000 mainly food products, including private label brands.

Speaking to local portal IloveZrenjanin, company founder and director Goran Kovačević said that Gomex plans to open another 30 neighbourhood stores in 2018, focussing on central Serbia, with the aim of increasing turnover by 20%.


Meanwhile, PerSu, owned by Serbian retail group BB Trade, has continued to expand its footprint in small towns across Vojvodina, and now operates more than 130 convenience and neighbourhood stores, between 100 and 800 square metres in size. In 2017, the retailer opened new stores opened in Sombor, Knićanin, Žabalj, Prigrevica, Mužlja, Kucura, Lazarevo, Kula, Crvenka and Stajićevo, and several existing stores were refurbished.

Another strong performer is Domaća Trgovina, which is present both in Serbia and Montenegro with the Aroma Market store banner. During 2017, the company opened new points of sale in Belgrade, Pančevo, Novi Sad and Zlatibor, and the retailer's network now consists of 57 stores in Serbia. Aroma Market differentiates itself by selling private label food and non-food products from Italy’s Conad as well as its own Montela brand.

Also worth mentioning is Aman, a Belgrade-based retailer that boasts over 200 stores of the neighbourhood (Aman) and supermarket format (Aman Plus). Last year, it opened 16 new Aman and seven Aman Plus stores.

On the other hand, there have been few hypermarket openings in recent years, as cash-strapped consumers opt for smaller purchases in local shops. Some existing hypermarket operators, including Tempo and Aman Plus, have reduced their stores, renting the surplus space to other companies.


Retail Growth

Research by Euromonitor International reveals that the Serbian retail market grew at a relatively high rate in 2017, thanks to improvements in the economy, as well as increases in disposable income and consumer confidence.

However, the negative effects of the economic crisis period are still felt by some segments, including pensioners and those on the lowest incomes.

The local market remains highly fragmented, as the leading retailers – Delhaize Serbia, Mercator-S and Univerexport – accounted for less than one-fifth of overall retailing, while the leading ten retailers held less than one third of the market.

Most domestic players gained market share last year, with independent small grocers still retaining a strong position.


The arrival of discount giant Lidl later this year, with the first 15-20 stores set to open in the autumn, is expected to attract Serbian consumers and shake up the market.

Euromonitor forecasts that the Serbian retail market will continue to record steady growth rates, fuelled by several factors, but mainly by the expected improvement in the general economic environment.

The growing Internet penetration rate and higher access speeds will further stimulate growth of online shopping, with payment methods shifting from pay-on-delivery to online payments.

Currently, Maxi (Delhaize Serbia), Idea (Mercator-S) and Univerexport all have an online shopping presence, however, the mobile e-commerce segment remains underdeveloped, with limited apps available for consumers.

© 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

Get the week's top grocery retail news

The most important stories from European grocery retail direct to your inbox every Thursday

Processing your request...

Thanks! please check your email to confirm your subscription.

By signing up you are agreeing to our terms & conditions and privacy policy. You can unsubscribe at any time.