Serbia in focus

Date : 13 October 2017

We bring you the latest news from the Serbian grocery retail market.

Mercator’s Idea opens three organic-only stores

Mercator has announced the launch of three ‘Idea Organic’ stores in Belgrade. The stores offer shoppers organic ranges, as well as free from, vegetarian, and vegan ranges in fresh and packaged food categories. In a statement, Idea that “healthier food is no longer a luxury” in Serbia and shoppers are offered healthy eating products at price points close to regular ranges.

Other retailers elsewhere in Europe are introducing specialist formats as a one-stop-shop for consumers targeting a healthy lifestyle. For more on how other European retailers are driving the health and wellness agenda, IGD Retail Analysis subscribers can view our insight presentation here.


Univerexport launches franchise stores in convenience drive...

One of Serbia’s largest domestic retailers, Univerexport, has the launched its first franchised convenience format. Univerexport wants to encourage continued expansion in the convenience format in response to shopper demand for store proximity. The Serbian retailer opted for a franchise business model because the relatively lower capital investment required to encourage organic growth in store numbers. The franchised stores will be managed independently but in line with the retailer’s standardised look and feel, and assortment. This business model will allow for some flexibility as each store’s assortment will be adapted to sales area size, format and location.

…As small supermarkets to accommodate top-up shoppers…

In other related developments, Univerexport has opened the first of its own small sized supermarkets at 400 sq. m. in the centre of Serbia’s second largest city, Novi Sad. This format stocks 4,500 products and is planned to open in locations where Univerexport has no or low presence.

Vesna Vucurevic, Univerexport Group President, said: "We followed the current trends and changed the company's business model. The ultimate goal has not changed - we are constantly striving to increase consumer satisfaction. "

Univerexport expands distribution network

In other news, the Serbian retailer also opened a new distribution centre in Northern Serbia at a cost of €16m, the company’s largest investment in history. The new centre is expected to accommodate its growth as a multi-format retailer. It will store more over 16,000 products, supplying Univerexport supermarket and convenience stores, as well as supporting its online operation in the Novi Sad area.

DIS also launches small supermarket format

Elsewhere in the market, DIS, Serbia’s largest domestic retailer, launched a 400 sq. m. supermarket in September 2017 in one of Belgrade’s retail parks. This follows the launch of a 1,100 sq. m. supermarket in the same city in June 2017. Until this point, average DIS stores were around 3,500 sq. m. so the launch of these smaller format stores signals the retailer’s shift towards multi-format retailing.



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Amin Alkhatib, Retail Analyst CEE, IGD International: based in London, UK, Amin is responsible for shaping IGD's research in Central and Eastern Europe; as well as contributing to IGD's broader European research programme. Follow me on Twitter @Amin_IGD for further insight on the region’s retail landscape.