Mercator will invest more than US$88m to combat a tough anticipated 2012

Mercator will invest more than US$88m to combat a tough anticipated 2012

Slovenian retailer Mercator will spend US$88.5m over 2012 in a bid to grow sales and combat a "considerably harsher business environment" this year.

Mercator, which earlier this month bought its Franchisee Vesna, announced the plans in a filing to the Llubjana Stock Exchange, which showed 2011 net income is expected to drop 21.6% to EUR23.8m (US$30.7m) compared to 2010.

The filing said: "As a result of increasingly harsh conditions in the global financial markets and their effects on the economy in the second half of 2011, the business environment grew more exacting and challenging than expected.

"According to current forecasts, such economic circumstances will persist virtually throughout the south-eastern European region, presumably for the entire 2012. This calls for appropriate measures to counter the crisis."

The company said it will open 58 stores, create better value for customers, improve processes, refresh the fast-moving consumer goods offer in Slovenia and restructure its offer in Croatia.