Spar Albania plans to double its store network by the end of the year, according to a report by LZ Retailytics.
The Baltic Finance Investment Group (Balfin), Spar Albania’s master franchisee and the country’s largest investment company, is expected to operate 30 stores at the turn of the year. Next year, Balfin Group plans to grow by 20 additional outlets, the news outlet says.
The largest retailer in Albania is the local chain Big Market, which operates 100 supermarkets. The only other international player with a notable presence, and the second-largest retailer, is Italian operator Conad, with a few dozen stores.
The Albanian market is still dominated by traditional formats, with organised retail accounting for only 15% of the food market in the country, according to Spar Albania CEO Elona Mema. This low market concentration offers a lot of expansion potential for Spar and its accelerating economic growth.
Ahold Delhaize, Carrefour (via Marinopoulos) and Slovenian Mercator have all left the country in recent years, after brief time attempts to set up in the area.
In August, Spar Albania announced that it planned to invest over €50 million in expanding its network to over 100 supermarkets and ten hypermarkets, aiming to become the number-one grocery retailer in the country. LZ Retailytics believes that Spar Albania will overtake Conad and inch closer to Big Market by the end of 2017.
'The market provides great potential for Spar, thanks to its accelerating economic growth and low market concentration,' according to LZ Retailytics. 'We believe that the low market volume and unstable legal frameworks have been deterring other international players from entering the market without a local partner. This will provide Spar with an excellent opportunity to fortify its position.'
© 2017 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Kevin Duggan. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.