Saturday, 16 July 2022

Croatian Secret Shoppers Monitoring Dual Pricing Rollout in Stores

July the 16th, 2022 - Croatian secret shoppers chosen by the Economy Ministry are out on the field monitoring the rollout of dual pricing in the country's stores as Eurozone accession rapidly approaches.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, after the EU Council formalised the decision to introduce the euro as the official currency in the Republic of Croatia a mere four days ago, the Economy Ministry announced a group of Croatian secret shoppers who will monitor the situation for the sake of consumer protection during the transition to the new currency.

The competition held back in the spring selected six candidates from different parts of Croatia, who, in mid-August will start monitoring precisely how the prices of goods and services are recalculated out in the field during the mandatory dual pricing rule which is set to come into force in September 2022. Some stores, including large chains like Konzum, have already begun displaying their prices in this way.

The selected Croatian secret shoppers are from the Medjimurje Consumer Society and the Consumer Protection Development Organisation from Selnica in Medjimurje County, the Consumer Education and Information Centre from Bilje in Osijek-Baranja County, the Croatian Consumer Protection Association from Zagreb, the Consumer Rights Protection Association from Split, and the Association Consumer Centre from Rijeka.

How will it work?

Over the next thirty days, these Croatian secret shoppers will conclude a contract in which they will receive 112 to 120,000 kuna for their mystery shopping activities, and they will monitor and obtain consumer information until the end of next year, by which time the obligation of dual price reporting will be in full force and will have been for some time.

The plan is for the engaged associations to monitor price movements and the correctness of price recalculation and rounding on a monthly basis by reviewing 50 to 60 different goods and services, at a minimum of 10 points of sale and five points where various services are provided in exchange for money. The associations that have been selected as Croatian secret shoppers have the obligation to publish the results they've obtained regularly, more precisely by the 15th of each month, on their websites.

The plan is also for the situation on the ground to be checked by five people who will be hired by selected associations, and the tours should include, in addition to retailers, fuel stations, butchers, bakeries, as well as service providers such as hair salons and catering and hospitality facilities. For two hours, associations must also provide open telephone lines where consumers will be able to get information from them about those facilities who are wrongly trying to take advantage of the situation and make a profit.

Croatian secret shoppers will soon be placed in banks, as well...

It won't only be stores and other facilities under the radars of Croatian secret shoppers, banks won't be immune either. The Croatian National Bank noted that it will hire secret shoppers, or perhaps in this case it's better to call them secret clients, in order to monitor what practices are being carried out at bank counters, as well as at other credit intermediaries under its authority.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 20 April 2022

Studenac Expands to Slunj, Takes Over Kordun Retail Chain

April the 20th, 2022 - Studenac, the very well known shopping chain most commonly seen up and down the coast of Dalmatia, has been spreading its wings over the last few months and has now entered another new Croatian county, this time taking over the Slunj-based Kordun retail chain.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Studenac is one of the leading retail chains in the Republic of Croatia, it's also the chain with the largest chain of stores. It has now taken over the Slunj-based Kordun retail chain which operates in 9 retail stores across Karlovac County and employs 52 employees.

This new takeover of the Kordun retail chain by Studenac is a continuation of the continuous growth that the company has achieved over more recent years, and after the acquisition of the Dubrovnik chain Pemo d.o.o., Studenac has strengthened its position as the chain with the largest number of stores. In addition to that, Studenac is now present for the first time in Karlovac County in Slunj, Rakovica, Cetingrad and Dreznik Grad.

"Joining the Kordun retail chain to the Studenac network is of strategic importance for the company because, among other things, it brings us into a new geographical area. It also confirms our thesis that small formats of stores like ours have great potential and several advantages, and we successfully use them to fit into different local communities and provide customers with a pleasant and complete shopping experience. This is exactly what we're going to provide to our new customers, with the gradual improvement of all business aspects,'' said Michal Senczuk, President of the Management Board of Studenac.

The takeover of the Kordun retail chain implies their reorganisation into Studenac stores, the enrichment of the assortment on offer and the introduction of many other benefits for local customers. Speaking of benefits, in addition to regular weekly promotions, customers in Studenac can additionally expect welcome discounts, special promotions, as well as activities at points of sale such as a fun wheel of fortune in the first weeks of the store's opening.

On top of all of that, customers can also download ''Moj Studenac/My Studeanc'', a brand new loyalty programme in the form of a modern mobile application (app) that brings them value and extra savings for their loyalty. The free app, available for both Android and iOS devices, provides customers with a unique experience of everyday shopping in Studenac, with special benefits that will be designed according to their individual shopping habits.

Studenac, with almost 750 stores and more than 4,000 employees across the country, is continuing its business growth strategy and introducing brand new and improved existing activities in order to better position Studenac as the best choice in every neighbourhood in which it is present and as one that meets the needs of its customers.

For more, check out our business section.

Monday, 28 March 2022

Studenac Has More Than Double the Amount of Konzum Stores Across Croatia

March the 28th, 2022 - After completing the takeover of the Kutina-based company Lonia, the retail giant Studenac will have as many as 1,050 stores across the country and will be by far the largest chain in all of the Republic of Croatia.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Omis-based company Studenac is currently owned by the Polish investment giant Enterprise investors, and in the meantime it purchased the bakery chain Pan Pek and Zadar's Sonik market, Porec's Istrian supermarkets, Biograd's Bura chain, and recently Dubrovnik's very well known Pemo brand.

By that point, this large company had reached the impressive number of around 750 stores located up and down the country. The Kutina-based company, through the newly established company Lonia trgovina d.o.o., operates a network of 300 grocery stores and eight wholesale centres in Croatia. Two years ago, Lonia took over the Djurdjevac-based company Sloga podravska trgovina, which boasts about 70 stores.

Lonia operates in the City of Zagreb, Zagreb County, Sisak-Moslavina County, Bjelovar-Bilogora County, Pozega-Slavonia County, Brod-Posavina County, Karlovac and Karlovac County, and the Varazdin and Koprivnica-Krizevci counties, and in these regions, Studenac will take over their market positions, as reported by Danica.

After taking over Lonia, Omis's very well known Studenac will therefore have around 1,050 stores under its belt in Croatia, becoming the retailer with by far the largest number of outlets nationwide. They are in primarily ''smaller formats'', such as small neighbourhood shops and supermarkets. Unlike, for example, the second largest sales giant in Croatia, Konzum, which has 608 stores, but they're mostly larger supermarkets and hypermarkets.

The third in terms of number of shopping outlets is the well known Dalmatian Tommy from Split with a total of 226 stores, Spar ranks fourth with 118, and Plodine is fifth with 107. The wildly popular Lidl has 105, and its sister company Kaufland (part of the same Schwarz group) boasts 45 Croatian stores.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated business section.

Saturday, 1 January 2022

Plitvice Mall Opening Up 90 Employment Opportunities for Locals

January the 1st, 2022 - The word ''Plitvice'' might well be synonymous with the stunning Plitvice Lakes National Park, but when it comes to the economy in this part of Croatia, things tend to be very much overlooked and the population is thinning here by the year. The new Plitvice Mall is set to open up some new employment opportunities for local residents who might have otherwise been tempted elsewhere.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, in the tourist zone of the Plitvice Lakes National Park, the new Plitvice Mall has been opened to the very many visitors and locals of the Rakovica Municipality, who just before Christmas got a brand new, very attractive shopping centre spanning almost 4,000 square metres of retail space. According to the statement, the construction of Plitvice Mall began back in May 2021.

The new Plitvice Mall shopping facility is located in an area that is visited by several million tourists during the summer months, which includes guests of the famous National Park which attracts people from all over the world, all of whom are flocking to see its stunning waterfalls and nature.

The investor's representative, Pasko Dodic, pointed out that the local region and its residents have been given not only the opportunity to create new jobs and as such boost the local economy, but also a new place of purchase that has not existed in this particular region of Croatia so far.

During the opening of the new Plitvice Mall, the mayor of Rakovica, Mihovil Bicanic, pointed out that the shopping centre will open more than 90 jobs for locals.

"Comparing things in terms of their percentages, the number of employed inhabitants of the municipality of Rakovica at the new Plitvice Mall would be identical to 34,000 employees in the City of Zagreb, and only in one single location. This project will keep young people and families in our area,'' added Bicanic.

For more, check out our dedicated business section.

Friday, 23 July 2021

Novi Marof SPAR: 100th SPAR Supermarket Opened in Croatia

July the 23rd, 2021 - The Novi Marof SPAR supermarket has opened its doors in the truly record time of just three and a half months, making it the 100th SPAR store to open its doors to customers in the Republic of Croatia.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, in just over three months, which is remarkably quickly for this sort of business operation, especially here in Croatia, the newest SPAR supermarket sprang up at the entrance to the town of Novi Marof, just off the main Varazdin motorway.

The new Novi Marof SPAR boasts quite the modern and impressive glass design and easily attracts attention with its unusual appearance. To give some appropriate balance to its modern look, strong wooden beams and panels provide some additional warmth and appeal to Novi Marof's new retail addition.

In addition to a spacious car park with 91 parking spaces reserved for customers in this area, the new Novi Marof SPAR offer has made it easier for residents of this area and those surrounding it to get what they need without travelling further afield.

The opening ceremony of Croatia's 100th SPAR supermarket was attended by Mayor Sinisa Jenkac, who, together with Helmut Fenzl, President of the Management Board of SPAR Croatia, cut the ceremonial ribbon and formally opened the Novi Marof store.

The diversity, richness and uniqueness of the SPAR supermarket's offer is reflected in the wide selection of food and non-food items it boasts, and what makes this SPAR special are certainly the fish market with fresh fish and the butcher's department with the widest selection of barbecue and other fresh meat dishes and items.

In addition, four quick cash registers have been set up for easier shopping in the new SPAR supermarket for Novi Marof's local residents who will more than likely be happy that they'll no longer have to travel quite a distance anymore.

For more on shopping and international business moves in Croatia, follow our business section.

Tuesday, 6 July 2021

HDZ Whip: Shopping Hours to be Adjusted to Seasonal Activities

ZAGREB, 6 July, 2021 - The whip of the ruling HDZ, Branko Bačić, said on Tuesday the parties of the parliamentary majority supported amendments to the Trade Act, adding that shopping hours would be adjusted to seasonal activities.

Parliament will debate the amendments in the autumn.

Speaking to the press after a meeting of the parliamentary majority, Bačić said they talked about the problem of restricting shopping hours until 9 pm, notably during the summer tourist season, when they have the biggest turnover.

"We must take account of the international convention on the rights of shop workers to daily and weekly rest," Bačić said, adding that it was important to reach as much consensus as possible with those to whom the law applied.

"We'll take into account rest and adjusting shopping hours to seasonal activities across Croatia. We'll give employers the possibility to decide how many Sundays in the year they will work."

Reformists president Radimir Čaćić pushed for as much flexibility regarding shopping hours as possible, saying that family firms should be allowed to work when and how long they wanted.

He praised the proposal by Silvano Hrelja of the Croatian Pensioners Party "not to define shopping hours but the number of non-working hours, to say that a shop must have eight non-working hours. That's very good as it allows everyone to organise themselves as they wish."

Bačić said the parliamentary majority also talked about plans to make job-keeping payments in sectors affected by the epidemic conditional on worker vaccination, adding that the purpose was to stimulate employers with a high vaccination rate "for contributing to curbing the epidemic as soon as possible."

He said the government was not shifting responsibility to employers and that measures to that effect would be agreed by the government, the social partners and legal experts, taking Croatia's economic interest into account.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 21 May 2021

Well Known Croatian Coastal Store Studenac Arrives in Zagreb

May the 21st, 2021 - If you've ever spent any time on the Croatian coast, you'll have noticed a shop called Studenac. The popular coastal store Studenac has now taken to the continental part of the country and opened its doors for the first time right here in the Croatian capital of Zagreb.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marta Duic writes, the Croatian coastal store Studenac, one of the leading retail chains on the Adriatic, is continuing to grow and expand its business, for the first time opening the doors of one of its markets in Zagreb. With the opening of this first store at the address Kneza Mislava 1, the city format of the store was presented and then adapted to the needs of customers in such an urban environment. The opening of the next stores owned by this chain in Zagreb is expected by the end of the year.

The arrival of the popular store Studenac in the Croatian capital is an important business step forward in the market positioning and strengthening of this company, not only as the leading chain along the Adriatic but also as one of the leading retail chains in the country as a whole.

"The opening of our stores in Zagreb is a continuation of our expansion strategy, whether it's organic growth or acquisitions. We're especially glad that we're achieving these set goals thanks to numerous improvements and innovation in business, despite the economic challenges. We're bringing a touch of the Adriatic to Zagreb and a new level of service quality that keeps pace with world FMCG trends. I believe that customers will quickly recognise the value we represent, which is that we're a neighbourhood shop, we're small but we boast some rich offers, and that we provide everything you need in one place - one step closer to customers,'' said Michal Senczuk, the CEO of Studenac.

The emphasis is being placed on the store's extensive TO GO offer, Senczuk added, noting that will surely go hand in hand with the often hectic lifestyle of the capital's residents.

Studenac stores will more than likely bring many offers and benefits to the people of Zagreb, and back in April, Studenac presented an assortment of carefully selected products of private brands, which, with the label of a green basket and at attractive prices, is available only on the shelves of this retail chain. In addition, in all Zagreb stores, Studenac's customers will have access to an enriched TO GO offer, which offers a selection of selected hot drinks and baked products, as well as a selected range of dishes with the possibility to prepare them in store.

For more, follow our lifestyle section.

Friday, 23 April 2021

Coronavirus Pandemic Alters Croatian Shopping, Consumption Habits

April the 23rd, 2021 - The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has well and truly changed the entire world as we have come to know it, making things we took for granted difficult to imagine now, such as easy and cheap travel for leisure, and even walking around shopping centres for hours on end without the need for masks or social distancing. Just how has the pandemic changed Croatian shopping and consumption habits?

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marta Duic writes, the world's largest online retailer, Amazon, under the influence of the coronavirus pandemic, increased its turnover by 38 percent. Thanks to retail innovation, Amazon's figure of 280 billion US dollars has grown to a staggering 386 billion. Although online stores aren't something new, grocery retail has so far mostly remained in the physical ''world'', with people going to large supermarkets in person, but with the arrival of the global pandemic, the way we buy groceries has also changed.

While some tried online shopping for the first time only during the pandemic, others took advantage of the opportunity to adapt quickly and opted for innovations that bring changes in an industry where there have been no tectonic changes since the very invention of the supermarket. The results of research into consumer habits are an indication that in order to stay on the market, it's necessary to change the way of doing business and use digital technologies to better adapt to customer needs.

Changes caused by the pandemic

When it comes specifically to Croatian shopping and consumption habits, the research conducted revealed that back at the very beginning of the pandemic, there was a considerable increase in the use of e-commerce and a change in consumer habits.

During the pandemic, 60.7 percent of Croatia's respondents mostly chose to shop online, but 39.3 percent of them stayed loyal to the traditional way of doing shopping. As many as 55 percent of respondents decided to go to the store once a week, while 13.6 percent of them did so several times a week. To inform themselves about products and services before buying them, 67.9 percent of the respondents used information platforms such as Google to find answers to questions.

Trends across the world are an indicator that in the future we will find practical solutions such as self check outs and the use of robots when shopping. Some of these solutions were presented by well-known retail chains well known to Croats, while in our country, the modernisation of the industry is still expected.

Self-service cash registers in our hands

In neighbouring Slovenia, the retail chain Mercator has introduced the M-scan service, which replaces traditional self-service cash registers and enables purchases via mobile phones. M-scan and similar solutions speed up the shopping process, are cheaper to perform than self-service cash registers, and are being tested worldwide.

Amazon has opened several stores in the USA under the name GO, where a system of sensors and cameras recognises purchased products, and a similar smart shopping trolley system is being tested by the Dutch supermarket chain Jumbo.

Robots are part of the solution

With self check outs as a trend in retail, the use of robots is an increasingly common solution for fast and efficient business, and this could be the case for the Croatian shopping experience of the future too. The Ocado logistics system seems like something you should see in science fiction movies, but it’s actually a British online retail chain where robots work in a fully automated warehouse, boasting 35 percent sales growth last year.

On the other hand, robots could soon be walking around with people in Decathlon stores. With computer vision technology and RFID readers, the state of the stock and the items on the shelf will be monitored with the help of the Simba robot, which will provide trade and additional insight into consumer behaviour.

FairPrice, a supermarket chain based in Singapore, is working on testing the use of robots in food delivery. After completing the purchase of groceries, the customer can return to their activities because the bags will be delivered to them by a robot, and the mobile application will give confirmation of the agreed collection with a QR code.

While much of the above might seem totally unrealistic in relation to the Croatian shopping experience as we know it, standing around in lines at Konzum and trying to shove what we've purchased in a bag at the same rate as the cashier fires the items towards you, robotics in Croatia is advancing, and it could become a reality sooner than we might think.

The global pandemic has accelerated the process of change in the retail industry in a way that was previously unimaginable. The frequent use of contactless payments, which is becoming an increasing preference of customers so as to avoid touching too many items or indeed money, has reduced the need for contact, while the use of innovations in trade is an indicator of the need for digital transformation, which will not bypass the Croatian shopping experience of the future, or the wider domestic market.

For more, make sure to follow our lifestyle section.

Friday, 5 February 2021

VIDEO: Family of Zadar Sheep Visit Shopping Mall, Looking for Woolmart?

February 5, 2021 – Visitors to a mall in Dalmatia were yesterday surprised to see their shopping trip shared by a family of Zadar sheep, who were filmed strolling beneath the logos of famous brands. The video became a big hit on social media

The people who inhabit Croatia's coastal region of Dalmatia like to take pride in the good things they have. And well they might. Their region is beyond-beautiful – a long stretch of idyllic coastline and islands, sat before pristine seas, with a spectacular mountain backdrop behind which a wealth of culture, tradition, nature and authentic Croatian cuisine lie.

Part of that cuisine is lamb. Dalmatia lamb is highly prized – indeed, indeed the lamb from Dalmatian island Pag, and that of the Lika region is protected at an EU-level tied to its place of origin. But, those are not the only places in Croatia that have fantastic lamb. Within many of Dalmatia's foothills, you'll find sheep and shepherds. Zadar sheep are just some of those who graze on grasslands around Dalmatia's cities, towns and villages. Well, usually they do.

Over recent days, one family of Zadar sheep quit the quieter areas on the edge of the city suburbs and descended on the town. They were caught on video taking a stroll around the car park of a popular mall on the edge of the city. Filmed in front of the familiar logos of Interspar and McDonalds, you can imagine they have just finished a round of shopping and are now heading back home.

Perhaps they imagined the mall to be a Woolmart outlet? We're not the only ones to wonder. The Zadar sheep family was incredibly popular yesterday on the Facebook site Dnevna doza prosječnog Dalmatinca. Views of the Zadar sheep gone shopping are approaching 10, 000 views. Over 2000 left comments, such as “They also go to Zara!” and "here's a lot of symbolism here."

It would seem that images of the shopping Zadar sheep stuck in people's minds throughout the day. In a later Facebook post on Dnevna doza prosječnog Dalmatinca, a supermarket shopping trolley was pictured abandoned by the traffic lights of a road junction elsewhere in Dalmatia. Some wondered in the comments section whether it could be that of the Zadar sheep, who had forgotten to return it to the mall after their shopping spree.

Screenshot_145.pngDnevna doza prosječnog Dalmatinca Facebook screenshot

Tuesday, 15 September 2020

Eurospin Croatia: New Shopping Outlet Takes Country by Storm

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 15th of September, 2020, the arrival of Eurospin Croatia has taken the country's bargain hunters by storm and caused quite the stir among commentators and competitors.

''We don't know who their sources of supply are, but the retail prices of some items with which they started aggressively at the beginning with are lower than those we're achieving in procurement,'' states the comment of some Croatian retailers on the new Eurospin Croatia store.

The Italian discount store Eurospin has just opened its fourth store in Croatia, in Velika Gorica close to Zagreb, in just under one month, and according to the announcements, it should conclude this year with 20 stores with a total of 500 employees. The philosophy of "smart shopping" is justified by the dominant offer of private labels, while of the Croatian products in Eurospin Croatia's current catalog offer of fruits and vegetables, there are only tomatoes (250 g for 6.99 kn), potatoes (5 kg for 10.99 kn) and cabbage (1.69 kn / kg).

It appears that they have already lost one Croatian supplier. The Zarja group from Kerestinec, known for its brand Rajska, has already terminated their contract with them.

''We started working with them and then realised that they work without a margin, just to go with the lowest possible prices. We gave them a normal price like everyone else, to be followed by calls from other angry customers that we give Eurospin our goods below cost,'' said the Zarja Group co-owner Zvonimir Belic for Vecernji list, explaining how such things do happen elsewhere, but in agreement with retailers - and for a short time, meaning only when actions are planned.

However, Eurospin Croatia's unilateral decision forced them to put their cooperation on hold until relations improved. Martin Evacic, head of NTL and the HUP Trade Association, also noted that Eurospin set a price alert at the beginning of its operations.

''It's difficult to get into that, but other retail chains don't have such sources to sell their goods at such low prices. It's obvious that this is being done without earnings or with minimal earnings, so this can't be maintained in the long run on the market,'' he believes.

When asked about business and aggressive prices from Eurospin Croatia, Vecernji list didn't receive an answer until the conclusion of the article.

''Eurospin Croatia will operate stably and profitably, as has been the case in recent years in Slovenia, and in our country it will occupy approximately 3-4 percent of the market. There will be more changes due to the fact that the Schwartz Group has become a market leader and its companies Lidl and Kaufland are continuing to open new outlets, and that the Polish fund Enterprise Investors (EI) acquired by Studenac has announced the further development of its acquisitions to annual turnover of about five billion kuna, covering the entire Croatian market,'' claimed Munjiza.

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