Traditional grocery retailers maintained a positive performance in the latter part of the review period, as they benefited from the withdrawal of modern grocery retailing chains such as Penny Market, Carrefour and Piccadilly. The channel is expected to continue to see sales rise over the forecast period supported by its deep penetration of both rural and urban areas and long-established shopping habits amongst Bulgarian consumers.
Shifts in consumer demand are expected to increase the pressure on traditional grocery retailers during the forecast period. In particular, the rise in consumer health-consciousness, underpinned by factors such as increased internet exposure and media attention on health issues, is generating demand for higher-quality grocery products with a health-orientated positioning.
Open markets with pavilions and stalls focused primarily on selling fruit and vegetables are a long-established established feature of Bulgarian shopping patterns. However, open markets are expected to struggle to compete with rival retailing formats over the forecast period, as modern grocery retailing extends its geographic presence.
The traditional grocery retailers channel is highly fragmented, made up primarily of small independent players. However, it underwent some consolidation over the course of the review period, driven by small players’ difficulties in dealing with increasing competition from modern grocery retailers, as well as the expansion of the leading traditional grocery retailers.
During the review period, Tabak Market significantly expanded its network of Lafka branded stands across the country, leading to considerable revenue growth. Tabak Market is the retail arm of Bulgartabac Holding, which controls the country’s three leading cigarette factories and formerly managed the entire Bulgarian tobacco industry.
Traditional grocery retailers is dominated by small, family-run businesses. It is common for former military or police personnel to open independent small grocery stores, using the retirement bonus they receive upon discharge from service at the age of 52 (equal to 20 months’ salary) as starting capital.
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