Rising prices behind 3.7% grocery retail market growth in 2011


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PMR estimates that in 2011 the grocery retail market in Poland was worth close to PLN 250bn, nearly PLN 9bn more than in 2010. The increase has been foremost generated by discount stores and supermarket segment, and driven by rising prices – according to PMR’s most recent report, “Grocery retail in Poland 2011. Market analysis and development forecasts for 2012-2014”.

Following moderate market growth in 2010, which based on PMR estimates fell short of 3%, the current year saw a small improvement. However, the 3.7% growth of grocery retail market was mainly powered by prices significantly higher than a year earlier. Polish consumers held grocery shopping in reign and were very rational about how they spent their food budgets. They bought more at discount stores and more private label products. But, as proved by the findings of our survey, Poles’ purchases are not just dictated by price but foremost by quality – comments Dominika Kubacka, a PMR analyst and the author of the report.
Relatively low concentration of grocery retail trade, compared to more developed European markets, provides an opportunity for further changes in the sector. The largest trade groups in Poland are continuing the process of acquisition. Recently, another foreign player entered the market. The Lithuanian Maxima is only awaiting the consent of the UOKiK to take over the regional chains of Aldik supermarkets. New retail concepts and new shop formats are appearing on the market, as well as new chains, especially those based on partnerships. Retailers are more broadly providing online access to their offering. In 2011 Auchan joined those already with the internet distribution, and Tesco is to follow suit shortly. The sales and reach of already active e-shops is on the rise. As shown by most recent findings of PMR Research, merely 5% of those who shop online purchase food via the internet. New players, for whom keeping prices low is of utmost importance, should accelerate the development of online grocery trade.

Discount and supermarket chains grow stronger

The large-format modern retail segment has gained in strength. Hypermarkets, supermarkets and discount stores now control 40% of the grocery market versus the 30% five years ago. Small shops are working hard to stay in business, some by joining one of the many initiatives in Poland that group small retailers, including chains established by distributors. The three largest grocery chains in Poland, abc, Lewiatan and Zabka, operate in a franchise-based system.

Again, discount and supermarket chains are the greatest beneficiaries of the market growth. They are benefitting from consumers’ rising inclination to shop near to where they live. Thanks to double-digit growth, achieved largely because of wide expansion, in 2011 both segments moved ahead of hypermarkets in terms of the market share. We expect that already in 2012, the discount segment will take the lead among the large-format modern distribution channels, and its market share will exceed 15% of the grocery retail market in Poland, twice as much as five years ago – adds Dominika Kubacka.

Currently, according to PMR estimates, there are less than 95,000 Poles per one hypermarket, fewer than 10,000 per every supermarket, and fewer than 15,000 per one discount store. The number of large format shops has grown markedly over the last few years. At the end of this year, there will be close to 11 hypermarkets, over 100 supermarkets and close to 70 discount shops per one million Poles.

Grocery market leaders remain unchanged

The grocery retail market continues to be controlled by the same players. The top ten retail chains account for a third of the market. Biedronka, strengthening its position at the helm of the grocery retail market, has dominion over close to 10% of the market.
The survey PMR Research conducted in 2011 confirms the popularity of the key chains. Biedronka is at the top of the list, with close to a half of the persons PMR Research interviewed most often choosing to shop in the chain’s discounts. Tesco, Carrefour and Lidl stores were selected approximately by one in every four respondents.

For more information on the grocery market, its segments and key players, see PMR’s report “Grocery retail in Poland 2011. Market analysis and development forecasts for 2012-2014”.

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