Current value growth in overall retailing in Austria remained stable in 2018 due to a favourable environment characterised by good economic growth, decreasing unemployment and improved consumer confidence. Austria remained characterised by a high number of shopping centres and retail parks, while city centre high streets competed for consumer frequency.
The high costs of operating a bricks-and-mortar business together with continuing shifts of sales towards non-store retailing, especially internet retailing, continued to place strong pressure on store-based retailing in Austria in 2018. While the strongest impact was on electronics and appliance specialist retailers, media product stores and traditional toys and games stores, the development also increasingly affected outlet numbers for sports goods stores, pet shops and superstores, and bags and luggage specialist retailers.
The increasing willingness to afford healthy and quality products, helped grocery retailers to record higher value growth compared to most other channels in store-based retailing in Austria in 2018. With an already comparably high share of organic products, sustainable products and regionally sourced products registered strong demand and the major players continued to invest large sums in shop design and energy efficiency.
Due to their leading positions in grocery retailers, Rewe International AG and Spar Österreichische Warenhandels AG led overall retailing in Austria in 2018. However, it was discounters with stronger expansion activities and ever-increasing consumer frequencies, which made the most significant gains in value share within grocery retailers.
After a fairly stable performance over the review period, the prediction for retailing in Austria remains highly cautious, estimating that overall value sales (while stable in current value terms) are likely to remain stagnant at constant 2018 prices. Even though a generally favourable environment is likely to prevail, retailing remains highly saturated in Austria, creating strong price pressure.
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