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Retail

Supermarkets, Proximity Stores Drive Sales in Romania

By Branislav Pekic
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Supermarkets, Proximity Stores Drive Sales in Romania

Supermarkets and proximity stores were the top performers in Romania's grocery retail market in 2023, according to RetailZoom.

Supermarket sales increased by 16.5% in value terms and 1.5% in volume terms compared to 2022, while sales in convenience stores grew by 18.1% in value and 1.6% in volume, according to RetailZoom's data, which was reported by Economica.net.

In contrast, hypermarket sales were down 2.8% in volume but up 9.7% in value, while independent retailers saw volume sales decline by 2.7%. RetailZoom's report excludes data from discounter Lidl.

The positive performance of supermarkets and proximity stores aligns with stronger purchasing power in major cities where smaller stores are more prevalent, according to the report.

Inflation Concerns

Despite inflation slowing down towards the end of 2023, prices still rose significantly throughout the year (+14% compared to 2022, +32% compared to 2021).

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This led Romanians to adjust their shopping habits, with more consumers focusing on specific needs rather than impulse buys. This is reflected in fewer items per shopping basket (down from seven to five in the past three years).

The share of private label saw a slight decline, of 0.1 percentage points, to 19%, in volume terms and by 0.5 percentage points, to 18.1%, in value terms, in 2023.

Promotional Purchases

To counter this, retailers are implementing more frequent discount campaigns, with 28% of purchases in the fourth quarter of last year being made on promotional items, the highest figure in five years, according to daily Ziarul Financiar.

This suggests that discounts are proving to be an effective strategy for major brands to compete with private labels.

While retail sales remained positive at the end of 2023, volume consumption decreased slightly compared to the previous year. Food prices in the latter part of 2023 fell by up to 27% compared to 2022, while in the non-food category, prices were up by 28%.

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