A NEW CHAIN OF SUPERMARKETS INVADES BULGARIA
Germany's REWE will invest EUR220MN in Bulgaria till 2008-2010, Ahim Egner, Chairman of the company's Management Board, announced. During his visit to our country he had a meeting with President Georgi Parvanov, Premier Sergey Stanishev, and Minister of Economy and Energy Roumen Ovcharov. Mr. Egner discussed with them economic reforms, necessary for improvement of investment climate in Bulgaria.REWE stepped onto the domestic market in 2000 through its subsidiary REWE Billa Bulgaria, the owner of the Billa chain of supermarkets. The Germans intend to invest EUR120MN in it and open 2,300 new working positions. According to plans, the number of Billa outlets in this country will reach 50 by 2010, to be opened in regional centres and towns with population over 40,000. The chain currently has 18 supermarkets in Bulgaria, employing 1,500 people. According to forecasts, they will report a 17% growth in turnover, which will reach EUR110MN at the year-end. The retailer has a 18.5% market share which makes its the No 1 supermarket and rates it second in the general trade in foods in this country.REWE's presence in domestic supermarkets will be strengthened by their Penny-market chain. The company's managers intend to build 90-100 Penny-market stores in this country. They will spread on a smaller area than Billa - 750-1,000 sq m and will offer a narrower range of goods. The number of new working positions in them will be 1,300. The price policy will be the main weapon of REWE in the competition. Several international chains of hyper- and supermarkets stepped onto Bulgaria in recent years. Metro, Kaufland, Hit, and Praktiker are among the hypermarkets. The smaller retailers are: Fantastico, Ramstore, Piccadilli, CBA Bulgaria, and several chains of the range of Family and 345.REWE has an annual turnover of EUR40.8BN, rating it third in Europe after the French retailer Carrefour and Germany's Metro Group. REWE has serious intentions to invest in Bulgarian leisure industry as well. In the last decade REWE's tour operators increased five-fold the number of its tourists in Bulgaria. In 2004 alone they brought 150,000 guests to our country. Since 1996 the company has invested EUR50MN in the form of advance payments for the renovation and refurbishing of 60 hotels.