Montenegro-based supermarket chain Voli has rejected speculation that it is to be sold to German discounter Lidl.
Speaking to local daily Vijesti, a company spokesperson rejected all rumours and speculations about the sale, stressing that Voli is the “largest employer in Montenegro, the largest agricultural producer and the undisputed leader in the retail market”.
The spokesperson also announced that the retailer plans further growth, including the opening of new stores and expansion into other regional markets, in partnership with the EBRD, which has a 15.7% ownership stake in the retail chain.
Also planned are new investments in agricultural production as well as in other industries through partnerships with leading domestic producers.
The COVID-19 pandemic has not had a major impact on Voli’s operations, with all planned investments and projects proceeding as normal.
Since the start of this year, which saw the retailer celebrate its 25th anniversary, Voli has invested over €10 million in the expansion of its store network. Three new stores have been opened so far this year, at Danilovgrad, Plav and Budva, with two more planned by year’s end.
The retailer’s strategy of investing in local food production has also paid off during the pandemic, ensuring an independent and short supply chain, it said.
The retailer is one of the biggest purchaser of local Montenegrin produce. Last year, for example, the placement of local products in Voli stores was worth over €40 million, of which €6 million comprised agricultural products.
Voli has also invested €2.38 million in agricultural production, leasing 70 hectares of state-owned agricultural land in the municipality of Ulcinj.
Voli has a market share of about 30% and operates 70 food retail stores across Montenegro.
© 2020 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