International retailers continue their foray into Bulgarian market
International retailers continue their foray into Bulgarian market. Austrian retail chain Billa inaugurated Thursday its first store in downtown Sofia after a months delay, while on Wednesday, Germanys Kaufland, a rival of Billas on an international scale, opened a supermarket in Haskovo, southern Bulgaria.
Billa postponed the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the store after a lightning prompted the roof of one of its outlets in Sofia collapse and it decided to double-check all safety precautions at all its 19 local stores.
This latest launch brings to 7 the number of Billa outlets in Sofia. Away from the capital, the Austrian retailer also operates supermarkets in Pazardjik, Plovdiv, Sliven, Stara Zagora, Burgas, Shumen, Gabrovo, Pleven, Vratsa, Montana and Pernik.
Expansion will not stop here as Billa is mulling the opening of discount supermarkets in 10 towns with population below 35,000.
Kaufland, in turn, conforms to initially announced plans. Currently, it builds a second unit in Sofia and prepares to start a third one.
The discount retailer has also launched the construction of a number of supermarkets outside the capital and plans five of them - including locations in Ruse and Varna, to begin operation by the end of 2006.