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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Wednesday, 20.03.2019, 18:07

Lidl tops Lithuania's retailer list in terms of investment in 2018

BC, Vilnius, 27.12.2018.Print version
German-owned retailer Lidl Lietuva invested 47 mln euros in expansion this year, almost twice as all the other market players whose combined investments plunged by 46 % year-on-year to at least 26 mln euros, informed LETA/BNS.

Lidl Lietuva opened 11 new stores, but the total number of new openings by the country's top five supermarket chains dropped to 25 this year, from 28 in 2017. The total number of retail outlets operated by the five chains reached 716 stores. 

Maxima LT, a company of the Vilniaus Prekyba Group, and Norfos Mazmena, a company controlled by Lithuanian businessman Dainius Dundulis, opened five new stores each.

Iki, which is controlled by Germany's Rewe, opened three new stores, and Swedish-owned Rimi opened one store this year which saw them fail to obtain regulatory approval for their planned merger.  

The country's major chains renovated 20 stores in 2018, unchanged from last year. Maxima carried out the largest number of renovation projects, at 13, followed by Iki with six and Rimi with one. 

Laurynas Vilimas, executive director at the Lithuanian Retailers' Association, says these trends are logical, with market incumbents focusing on renovation and Lidl still building its chain.   

"Lithuania still lags behind the EU average in terms of square meters of grocery retail space per capita, but we are caching up. We have neither too many nor too few stores," Vilimas said.  

"In a small market like ours, businesses compete by their ability to be as close to their buyer as possible. We can see that businesses are developing, which shows their confidence in the market," he added.  

Mindaugas Kulbokas, head of research and analysis at the real estate company Newsec Advisers LT, says that in the face of growing customer disloyalty, retailers will have to optimize their retail space or continue investing in store renovations in 2019. 

"The year 2019 will be key for retailers in seeking clarity as to which way to go in the long run. Some will look for development opportunities, while others will focus more on cost optimization, and still others will pay more attention to customers," he told. 

Both experts believe that Lidl's intensive development and renewed expansion by Iki and Rimi will have an impact on the market's results in 2019.

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