Spar to Expand Further in Croatia despite the Strict Legislation Rules

6. Oktober 2006, 00:00

Slovenias retail group Spar will continue with the expansion in Croatia, despite intense legislation in the...

Slovenias retail group Spar will continue with the expansion in Croatia, despite intense legislation in the country. The company will open its new EUR 4 million Interspar hypermarket in Zagreb – the first in Zagreb on October 12th, as part of long-standing plans to increase its presence in the region.

The launch follows an announcement earlier this year by parent company Austrian Spar International that it was looking to invest and add more stores to its Eastern European and Chinese operations to capture a share of their growing markets.

A further two hypermarkets are already scheduled to open for business in the cities of Sisak and Osijek, in November of this year, and March 2007 respectively at a cost estimated at around EUR 45 million.

Spar operates as a voluntary trading group, effectively franchising its stores to regional partners, while providing support and expertise to help acclimatise to the intricacies of global markets.

A source within the company who wished not to be named told media that its expansion in Croatia has been a gradual process rather than rolling out a large number of stores at once. The source added that this has been particularly important in a country like Croatia, which has lots of legislation for retailers to deal with.

Slovenian retailer Mercator has also reported difficulties in expanding in the region, after revealing in August that plans to increase it presence in countries like Croatia and Bosnia had not gone as smoothly as in its domestic markets.

With the rapid expansion of the Croatian food sector, however, investors are unlikely to be deterred by legislation from expanding further into the country. Consumer analyst Euromonitor estimates that expenditure on food in Croatia will increase from EUR 2.8 billion in 2002 to EUR 4.3 billion by the end of 2006.
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