Hungary's retail sector has made a sluggish start to 2023, with volume sales down 4.5% in January – and sales in food/mixed retailing stores dropping by 6.7% – which was below analyst expectations.
'The decrease in households’ purchasing power continues to constrain overall consumption, which is likely to be a drag on growth in the first quarter of 2023,' financial services group ING said in March.
Elsewhere, groups representing food producers and the agricultural sector have called for the removal of a food price cap on essential items, which was introduced in February 2022 to limit the impact of inflation, saying that the continuation of the price cap 'threatens domestic food self-sufficiency'.
Reports in December indicated that the price cap system had 'backfired' to some degree, with retailers having to ration sales of certain categories.
Here's an overview of the top ten supermarket retail chains in Hungary, according to their most recently-available full-year turnover. All data is supplied by Retail-Index (www.retail-index.com).
Turnover: €2.43 billion (2021)
Having had a presence in the market since 1992, SPAR is the largest supermarket retail chain in Hungary with a turnover of €2.43 billion as of 2021. It operates under several banners, including DESPAR, INTERSPAR, SPAR, SPAR City, and SPAR Express. SPAR has 581 stores in Hungary (as of 2022).
Turnover: €1.9 billion (2021)
With a turnover of €1.9 billion in 2021, Lidl is the second-largest retail chain in Hungary. The discounter, part of Germany's Schwarz Group, has 190 stores across the country. It has had a presence in the market since 2003.
Turnover: €1.8 billion (2021)
Coop is a Hungarian cooperative retail chain that reported an estimated turnover of €1.8 billion in 2021. It operates under the Coop banner and has 2,300 stores across Hungary as of last year.
Turnover: €1.8 billion (2021)
British retailer Tesco has had a longstanding presence in the Hungarian market, and reported a turnover of €1.8 billion in 2021. The group operates 198 stores across Hungary, under the Tesco Express and Tesco Superstore banners.
Turnover: €1.54 billion (2021)
Headquartered in Hungary, CBA operates 370 stores in the country, as well as having a presence in several other central and Eastern European markets. Founded in 1992, the group reported a turnover of €1.54 billion in 2021.
Turnover: €1.316 billion (2022)
Having had a presence in Hungary since the mid-1990s, Auchan currently operates 24 stores across Hungary, largely in the hypermarket arena. It reported a turnover of €1.316 billion in 2022.
7. Real Elelmiszar
Turnover: €1 billion (2022 – estimated)
Real Elelmiszar operates under the Reál Élelmiszer and Reál Pont banners, boasting 880 stores across Hungary. The group reported an estimated turnover of €1 billion in 2022.
8. Penny Market
Turnover: €855 million (2022)
Part of Germany's REWE Group, Penny Market reported a turnover of €855 million in 2022, and operates 227 stores across Hungary. The group opened its first store in the country in 1996.
Turnover: €854 million
Discounter Aldi reported a turnover of €854 million in Hungary in 2021, and operates 154 stores in the country as of last year. The group's Hungarian operations form part of the Aldi Süd network.
10. Metro C&C
Turnover: €405 million (2021)
German wholesaler Metro reported a turnover of €405 million from its Hungarian operations in 2021. The cash-and-carry group operates 13 stores in the country.
Retail-Index is a specialist supplier of management information on consumer retail markets, provided by Veraart Research Group in the Netherlands. Its mission is to supply managers with up-to-date key information on retail markets in Europe and support them in their international expansion.
The company dates back to 1964, when it started as a market research and marketing consulting company for consumer products and services. In 1989, it started publishing written reports on various retail sectors in Europe. As of 2005, it publishes its information on retailers through the online database and curated datasheet exports available on www.retail-index.com. A team of researchers manages the data to reflect upon current developments in the markets, collected from an extensive number of sources.
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