In less than 3 weeks, March 1, two years will be have concluded since the “Marinopoulos” supermarkets officially acceded to “Sklavenitis”. This development, combined with the impact of the economic crisis over private consumption, both in terms of disposable income and changes in consumer habits, continues to be a source of turmoil in domestic retail.
Some people may argue that most of the problems have been solved, but sure many are still there. In fact, with only nine “players” on the market (out of about 50) making a turnover of more than 100 million euros per year, further concentration in the industry is considered to be regulatory.
Having achieved in 2016, the year when Marinopoulos collapsed, the most benefits compared to the rest of the chains and then reaching record sales of € 2.17 billion, “AB Vassilopoulos” lost its first place in 2017, while in 2018 the recovery in sales started only in the fourth quarter of the year.
Its dethronement from Sklavenitis -which in 2017 noted a turnover of € 2.52 billion and in 2018 it is estimated that its consolidated turnover was close to the level of € 3 billion- apparently is not a development that satisfies it. “Our goal is to bring AB back to top”, Vassilopoulos said.
On the other hand, of course, neither the “Greek Supermarkets of Sklavenitis”, as it is now said, is standing still, especially when the difficult task of restoring the “Marinopoulos” network to a smooth operation has not been completed and complacency in a crisis-limited market can be disastrous. What are the “weapons” that the two companies have decided to use in this duel? They find out what is the competitive advantage of the opponent and they attempt to fill the gap itself.
In 2019, AB Vasilopoulos is preparing to expand the category of ready-made meals – which is now extremely limited – without excluding in some of its big stores, mainly in hypermarkets, to exist also the opportunity of buying fresh cooked food. The availability of fresh ready-made meals is something that Sklavenitis has already been active in, even in its small and medium-sized stores, besides the packaged ready-made meals that have been on its shelves for years.
On its side, AB Vassilopoulos’ leadership in the so-called fresh products (fruits, vegetables, meats, cheese, fish, etc.) leads Sklavenitis to make the decision to emphasize this category. In fact, the fresh products will have a strong presence on the shelves of its shops and even the small neighborhood shops, according to Fresh Market stores’ standards, which have been operating for many years in the various areas of Attica. These are, in particular, the outlets formerly operated under the Carrefour Express trade mark and even older with the Dia brand.
Sklavenitis is also set to create an online store, a move that is being deployed in the second half of this year. AB not only has an online store for years, but it has also the largest market share in the electronic supermarket category.
In addition, AB Vasilopoulos has been collaborating with local producers for many years, creating even the private label “AB close to Greek land”. Sklavenitis decided to bring the local producers … in its stores in collaboration with the magazine “Gastronomos”. Since last December, within the hypermarket “Sklavenitis” of the shopping centre Avenue, there are grocery stores with products from all over the country.
Of course, where the great battle will continue, it will be in the field of the bids and their national presence. With Sklavenitis suddenly acquiring a network of more than 400 branches and outside Attica, AB is constantly strengthening its presence in islands and northern Greece.
Who will win the battle? The future will show as long as, it is not to be a “pyre win”, like the one that led “Marinopoulos” to the well-known outcome.