In 2018, retailing maintained solid value growth thanks to strong performances in the most robust grocery retailers categories, including discounters, hypermarkets and supermarkets. All retailing categories, with the exception of direct selling, which declined slightly, managed to achieve growth despite limited purchasing power among local consumers.
Price-sensitivity remains at an all-time high. The years of economic stagnation due to the political crisis have forced many local consumers to roll back to a crisis mode, with significant economising and spending down on non-essential purchases.
Many leading, chained non-grocery specialists have partnered with local banks to offer their prospective clients affordable credit linked when purchasing non-grocery products at one of their retail outlets. Despite the presence of such credit schemes, non-grocery specialists underperformed compared with grocery retailers in 2018.
Retailing in Macedonia continues to lag behind that in neighbouring countries in terms of foreign direct investment and acquisitions by large international chains. This makes Macedonian retailing less attractive at the moment.
Given the slowdown due to the political turmoil in 2016 and 2017, and the slow recovery in 2018, retailing sales growth will only improve over the forecast period because of inflation. Political instability is likely to remain and result in further economic stagnation, at least over the early part of the forecast period.
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