Slovenian retailer Mercator said yesterday (25 August) that its first-half profits plummeted as Balkan consumers reined in spending in response to the economic downturn.

The company said that its first-half net profits halved year-on-year, dropping to EUR11.3m (US$16.1m) on flat sales of EUR1.3bn. 

Mercator has invested heavily in expanding in the Balkans, moving into new markets such as Albania and Bulgaria and expanding its store base in Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Montenegro.

However, the company said that its efforts to grow sales have been held back by lower consumer spending in these markets.

In a regulatory filing, Mercator said that it was revising its outlook because of the “economic situation” in the markets in which it operates.

The retailer cut its profit forecast from EUR30m to EUR20.5m, down 50% from last year.