Convenience "competitive advantage" for Mercator

Convenience "competitive advantage" for Mercator

Balkans retailer Mercator has said it will focus more on the FMCG sector and on convenience stores as it reappraises its business following a challenging 2012.

Mercator, which posted a loss of over EUR100m (US$135.1m) last year, plans to focus on its "core activity" of FMCG and its network of smaller store formats across its domestic market of Slovenia and in neighbouring countries, a spokesperson said.

Fast-moving consumer goods accounted for over 86% of Mercator's EUR2.87bn turnover last year. It also operates in other retail sectors, including sports and clothing.

Mercator, which at the end of September, had 1,610 stores, has smaller outlets across its markets, with 500 food c-stores in Slovenia. The spokesperson said it was investing in c-stores as its network of smaller food outlets set it apart from its rivals in its domestic market.

"Mercator adapts to changed consumers' habits in the present economic situation and having more than 500 mainly mid-range and smaller stores in Slovenia is one of Mercator's main competitive advantages, ensuring the proximity of its stores to the consumers," she told just-food. "This year Mercator will readjust, rearrange and modernise a certain number of smaller stores to better suit micro locations and consumer's needs."

The focus on FMCG and convenience stores is part of a wider shake-up that will include the withdrawal from its two smallest markets, Albania and Bulgaria.

Mercator will also centralise its business functions, "optimise" its supply chain and focus on smaller store formats.

The exits from Albania and Bulgaria and the improvements to its wider operations, particularly in administration, will lead to 800 to 1,000 staff losing their jobs, the spokesperson confirmed.