Su­per­mar­ket chain re­ac­tion af­ter Marinopou­los fall far from over

Kathimerini English - - Focus - BY DIM­I­TRA MANIFAVA

The steady drop in con­sumer spend­ing com­bined with the prob­lems in the mar­ket re­sult­ing from the crum­bling of the Marinopou­los su­per­mar­ket chain a year ago con­tin­ues to hurt sup­pli­ers.

IRI re­searchers have found that Greek su­per­mar­kets’ to­tal sales de­clined 6.5 per­cent on an an­nual ba­sis in 2016. This year they are ex­pected to shrink an ad­di­tional 2.3 per­cent and in 2018 an­other 1.5 per­cent.

Sev­eral sup­pli­ers, mainly small busi­nesses, are on the brink of bank­ruptcy af­ter 50 per­cent of Marinopou­los’s debts to them were writ­ten off. Fed­er­a­tion of Hel­lenic Food In­dus­tries (SEVT) of­fi­cials say some of those com­pa­nies could be forced to close.

The same risk may not be vis­i­ble among ma­jor groups, but their fi­nan­cial re­sults have been sig­nif­i­cantly af­fected by the write-offs, as well as by the drop in sales as their prod­ucts were not avail­able at the big­gest re­tail net­work in Greece for many months.

Of­fi­cial sur­vey data on the course of the re­tail mar­ket since the start of last year show that the worst quar­ters were the first and the sec­ond of 2016, with 7.9 per­cent and 9.4 per­cent year-on-year de­clines re­spec­tively. That is mainly at­trib­uted to the prob­lems Marinopou­los faced that led to its fil­ing for bank­ruptcy in June 2016.

In the year to mid-June 2017, sales con­tin­ued to de­cline at a 2.3 per­cent yearly rate, which is ex­pected to con­tinue for the rest of this year. Fig­ures now in­clude the old Marinopou­los su­per­mar­kets that as of March 1 be­long to the Sklaveni­tis chain.

This year is a pe­riod of tran- sition for re­tail­ers: Next year there will be a clearer pic­ture as to whether Sklaveni­tis has met the chal­lenge of ab­sorb­ing Marinopou­los suc­cess­fully, while no one can rule out a fur­ther con­cen­tra­tion in the sec­tor, as the chain re­ac­tion that started with Marinopou­los a year ago is far from over.

Data so far have shown that Marinopou­los’s down­fall has mostly ben­e­fited the AB Vas­silopou­los and Lidl Hel­las chains across Greece, while Sklaveni­tis and Ma­soutis have en­joyed lo­cal gains in Athens and Thes­sa­loniki re­spec­tively.

The old Car­refour Marinopou­los su­per­mar­kets started op­er­at­ing as part of the Sklaveni­tis chain on March 1.

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