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.

For the latest travel info, bookmark our main travel info article, which is updated daily

Read the Croatian Travel Update in your language - now available in 24 languages

Join the Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community.

Wednesday, 9 September 2020

ABOUT YOU: Quickly Growing Online Fashion Store Comes to Croatia

ABOUT YOU is among the fastest growing start-up online stores in all of Europe and one of the few companies operating on the old continent with a value of more than 1 billion US dollars.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 8th of September, 2020, what has been behind the numerous commercials and mysterious hashtags placed all over social media has now finally been revealed, ABOUT YOU has arrived here in Croatia.

The popular online European fashion store ABOUT YOU continued its successful journey of international business by launching the Croatian online store on September the 8th, 2020. After Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Slovenia and the Baltic countries, ABOUT YOU has found itself in Croatia.

The online fashion store was officially opened through an innovative marketing campaign that includes various information channels. The campaign aimed to increase the visibility of the ABOUT YOU brand through cooperation with many influential people from the Croatian scene.

Here in Croatia, according to, this exclusively online store offers more than 100,000 products and more than 700 brands, many of which are being made available on the Croatian market for the very first time. Shopping on ABOUT YOU is safe, everything can be ordered with free delivery and various payment methods are available, from credit cards to cash on delivery. In addition, customers can return products for free within 100 days if they do not like them.

With a limited discount of 25 percent as a welcome in the first week after the launch, the online fashion store ABOUT YOU has invited customers from Croatia to try a new, inspiring shopping experience. The code for Croatia can be found at

ABOUT YOU is a fashion and tech company based in Hamburg, Germany. It was initially founded by young entrepreneurs Tarek Müller (31), Sebastian Betz (29) and Hannes Wiese (38) back in 2014. In just six years, ABOUT YOU has become one of the largest European clothing stores with a massive annual revenue of 742 million euros (2019 / 2020). Following previous launches of online stores in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, as well as in other nations, ABOUT YOU became the leading online store on the market in just a few weeks.

"For us, the Croatian market represents huge potential. We expect rapid growth with the goal of becoming the market’s leading online store in the short term. We're also pleased to see that our customers from Croatia will be inspired by the wide offer on our platform, free delivery and free returns,'' said Tarek Müller, co-founder and director of ABOUT YOU.

For the latest travel info, bookmark our main travel info article, which is updated daily

Read the Croatian Travel Update in your language - now available in 24 languages

Join the Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community.

Thursday, 30 July 2020

Popular Italian Eurospin Shopping Outlets Coming to Croatia

July the 30th, 2020 - Eurospin, a popular Italian store which sells everything from food to clothes and household appliances at more than reasonable prices, is on its way to doing business in Croatia, and it will more than likely go down a storm with the majority.

When it comes to shopping options in Croatia, there aren't as many as you might find in other European countries. When compared to the likes of the United Kingdom and Germany, there isn't a great deal of lower cost possibilities to choose from, which often comes as a surprise to many given the huge average wage differences between Western European countries and that which is typical of Croatia.

That, however, might all be about to alter as a promotional campaign has been intensified across social networks and in the media on the occasion of the opening of the first Eurospin store in the country, as Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 29th of July, 2020.

"Customers who are familiar with Eurospin stores in Italy and Slovenia, welcomed the news of the arrival of a new Croatian chain of stores with its Italian roots. Under the motto Smart Shopping, the doors of the first Croatian Eurospin store will open in Zadar, on August the 13th,'' reads the Eurospin announcement.

''With more than 2,500 items of its own brands, Eurospin offers a full range of food and non-food products: from proven quality meat products in the butcher's department, delicious delicacies, fresh bakery products, fruits and vegetables, to clothing, household appliances and other everyday items,'' the statement reads, adding that the specificity of their stores is to sell Eurospin brands exclusively, but they also announced that they will readily provide space for the sale of Croatian products on their shelves.

For more on shopping and businesses operating in Croatia, follow our lifestyle page.


Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Supernova Group Opens 15th Store in Croatia, Jobs for 300 People

The coronavirus pandemic might have made the vast majority shy away from investing cash as the economic downturn across the world began, but it hasn't stopped everyone. The Supernova Group hasn't let the worrisome economic situation get in the way of opening its fifteenth Croatian store.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 15th of June, 2020, the popular Supernova Group is set to open the doors of its fifteenth shopping centre in the Republic of Croatia this Thursday. The Supernova Pozega Retail Park is a new family shopping destination located at the western entrance to the continental Croatian town of Pozega and is an entirely new facility.

The total value of the investment stands at an enormous sixteen million euros in total, and the opening of the new shopping centre has resulted in the employment of around 300 people, which is excellent news amid the pandemic and the demographic issues Croatia, especially the continental part of the country, has been facing for years now.

The brand new Supernova space covers 11,000 square metres, within which there are sixteen shops and one catering facility. The retail park was built on a plot of 47,000 square metres, and 450 parking spaces were provided for its customers and visitors.

In the new sales area of ​​the Supernova Group, customers will be able to find stores belonging to popular and very well-known brands, most of which are making their debut in this particular Croatian town. From Thursday onwards, the following will be open to all visitors: Baby Centre, C&A, CCC, Deichman, DM, Galileo, KiK, New Yorker, Pepco, Sinsay, Sport Vision, Top Shop and Teddy.

During the summer months, three more facilities will open their doors - the Leggiero coffee bar, the Admiral slot machine club and the famous and equally popular Italian food chain - Eurospin.

For more on shopping in Croatia, follow our lifestyle page.

Monday, 13 April 2020

Croatian Shop Opening Hours: Stores Open Until 17:00 As Of Tuesday

Easter this year has certainly been an unusual as family gatherings have become a thing of the past as the coronavirus crisis continues to bite. In preparation for the Easter holidays, shops remained open until 20:00, but now that the festivities (or what was left of them this year) are drawing to a close, Croatian shop opening hours are also going back to what they were.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 12th of April, 2020, the deputy chief of the National Civil Protection Headquarters, Damir Trut, was a guest on N1 television, and he discussed the measures governing Croatian shop opening hours.

''The [civil protection] headquarters is constantly monitoring the epidemiological situation and decisions are being made according to those analyses. When the conditions are good enough that it can be done, then we will do it. We're thinking a lot about that,'' Trut explained, referencing Croatian shop opening hours and the way the anti-epidemic measures have affected them.

On monitoring the gathering of citizens, Trut says that all measures taken by the Civil Protection Headquarters are aimed at protecting the public. ''Throughout the day, the entire area is monitored continuously, with all locations for people going out closely watched. During 24 hours, there were about 800 controls and during those controls there was no suspicious behaviour to note. Staying at home is the best measure we can employ to protect ourselves and everyone else,'' Trut said.

''Croatian shop opening hours were extended by the shops for the last three days, that is, for Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Markets will be open from 08:00 to 13:00 as of Tuesday,'' Trut clarified.

As for the question of whether Croatian shop opening hours be extended, it appears that we're not at that stage yet.

"I'd like to ask people to respect the measures which are currently in force, and when the opportunity allows, we will communicate which measures will eventually be discontinued,'' he concluded.

Make sure to follow our dedicated section for all you need to know about coronavirus in Croatia.

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Coronavirus in Croatia: Issue of Self-Sufficiency Raised by Farmers

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 18th of March, 2020, while Croatia's residents are stepping up food their game in purchasing bulk supplies and standing in line in stores as coronavirus tightens its grip, the Croatian Government is making decisions on limiting the prices of food, hygiene supplies and protective equipment.

Owing to the coronavirus effect on the economy, the issue of self-sufficiency in production is increasingly being raised in Croatia, especially when it comes to food and medicines.

Farmers' associations have often raised this issue in the past, pointing out that domestic production in Croatia is falling year by year. That is why the statistics surrounding about thirty products whose prices have been restricted by the government have been looked at, and the data from last year's published annual report on the state of agriculture for 2018 published by the Ministry of Agriculture has been extracted.

It turned out that Croatia is far more than sufficient when it comes to the production of cereals, meaning that in this segment, production meets the needs of the Croatian market by 117.8 percent, but self-sufficiency in terms of vegetable production, at least back in 2017, amounted to Croatia's needs at the level of a mere 61.9 percent, but not one type of vegetable is doing well enough. For example, domestic potato production covers up to 70 percent of the needs of the Croatian market, cabbage covers almost 86 percent of those needs, and as for onions and garlic, they meet 43 percent of the domestic market's needs.

Self-sufficiency in fruit production amounted to reach only 40.2 percent of all domestic market needs, and only cherry and sour cherry production, with 233.8 percent, was sufficient.

Podravka CEO Marin Pucar says that the market works excellently when it comes to profit, that it is self-regulating in terms of profit, but not so well when it comes to the interests of each individual state and its population.

''As soon as the first signs of the [coronavirus] crisis emerged, both solidarity and the [idea of a] free market disappeared, and everyone is thinking only of themselves. Perhaps this is an opportunity to redefine strategic production, although we should have thought about all that a long time ago. I'm not saying that production can happen without any cost-effectiveness criteria, but the question is whether Podravka would have the production of processed tomatoes it boasts today had that been decided solely on the basis of profit. If Podravka had been taken over by a large international corporation, it might be said that only Vegeta's production of ready-made soups, medicines and baby food would be profitable,'' says Pucar, whose company is constantly reassuring the public that there is enough food and medicine for all.

Pucar says that this is why production takes place in three or four shifts in Podravka, but that the company must also be careful that the emergence of coronavirus among its workers at the plant wouldn't endanger the production of food or medicines, according to a report from Novi List.

''I don't know how many people know that in tomato processing, we cover up to 30 percent of the market and that we're the only one doing that in Croatia. This isn't particularly profitable production, since we're paying higher prices to the subcontractors in Istria than we are to those in Italy, but we've not stopped producing. We're also the only ones to have pickled and canned vegetables,'' Pucar notes.

Asked if the solution might be that consumers prefer to opt for Croatian production, Pucar said that he understands the people who make their final decisions based on price, but pointed out that this is a situation where one really has to discuss self-sufficiency of strategic products.

Make sure to follow our dedicated section for rolling information on coronavirus in Croatia and our business page for more on how Croatian companies are coping with the current crisis.

Tuesday, 4 February 2020

Sunday Shop Closure Proposal: Would Croatian Tourism be Affected?

From social and more basic economic questions to the worry of it potentially damaging Croatian tourism, the country's most precious and strongest economic branch, opinion is divided when it comes to the proposal to restrict shops doing business on Sundays.

As Novac/Adriano Milovan writes on the 4th of February, 2020, not even several rounds of talks by those in the retail industry who gathered at the Croatian Chamber of Commerce have succeeded in establishing a common position on the proposal by Economy Minister Darko Horvat to restrict shops doing business on Sundays.

While some support limiting work on Sundays, there are traders on the other side of the trench who staunchly oppose such an idea. Regardless of the gap between the traders themselves, Horvat is going further forward with his proposal.

It isn't only traders and those working in retail are deeply divided on this issue: a similar division exists among economists who otherwise have little to do with that field. However, most of the economists Novac interviewed felt that such a move would be questionable from the point of view of constitutionality, and that it would have major consequences for both trade, industry and the Croatian economy as a whole.

It should be noted that the Croatian tourism industry, which is by far the country's strongest economic branch, generates one fifth of all Croatian economic activity, and that trade is a significant wheel in the ''cog'' of the Croatian economic mechanism. Furthermore, both Croatian tourism and commerce employ a huge number of people. In other words, as some experts have warned, closing shop doors on Sundays would be a real gamble with the Croatian economy as a whole.

''There are certainly pros and cons to this issue. But as a tourist country, we also need to have our shops open on Sundays. I think that the decision should be made by the employers themselves, with the inspections monitoring whether or not they fulfill their obligations to their workers,'' says Dragutin Ranogajec, president of the Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts (HOK).

He added that warnings had already arrived from major shopping centres that restricting or entirely banning work on Sundays would have a negative impact on their businesses. But, as he notes, small shops, which would face lower incomes, would also suffer significant damage.

''Every kuna is very important to them,'' Ranogajec points out.

The big question is also what limiting shops working on Sundays would bring to Croatian tourism, as the majority of Croatia's foreign guests, as Sanda Corak, scientific adviser at the Institute for Tourism, says, are made up of tourists staying in private accommodation and on campsites.

''There is a ban on shops opening on Sundays in other tourist countries. However, if private accommodation prevails in tourism, as is the case with Croatian tourism, then this can be a huge problem because these tourists really need those shops,'' Corak says. They need the shops to remain open much more than people staying in hotels do. She added that Croatia has a relatively small share of guests staying in hotels and those in apartments and camps tend to dominate the Croatian tourism sector.

''Such a measure, in circumstances such as ours, would certainly bring a drop in turnover in shops and in Croatian tourism, or a drop in consumption,'' fears Corak.

Predrag Bejakovic of the Institute of Public Finance also opposes the restriction or prohibition of shops working on Sundays. Bejakovic points out that it would be very difficult to explain why one activity is restricted or prohibited, while others, such as restaurants or cafes, can continue to work smoothly on Sundays. The consequences, he fears, could be even more severe than they may seem at first glance.

''Some of the shops would have to reduce their number of workers due to less traffic. In addition, because of a lower turnover, it's more difficult to expect traders to raise wages. Economic growth would probably slow down a bit, too,'' Bejakovic fears.

He points out that the state prohibits by decree the work of certain activities on certain days. Instead, he says, he should insist that workers are paid fairly on Sundays.

Decisions to ban Sunday trading should not be made without a quality analysis, which is currently lacking, said Zeljko Lovrincevic of the Zagreb Institute of Economics. He added that there is neither a simple nor a unique solution, given that the situation is not only different between countries but also within Croatia itself.

''Such decisions should be left to the local self-government units because the situation in Baranja or Dubrovnik just isn't the same. Local self-government units will be the ones to best evaluate whether shops in their area should be open on Sundays or not,'' says Lovrincevic.

He also warns that Croatia is full of specifics. For example, when making such a decision, the traffic of passengers will have to be taken into account as Croatia is a transit country and the traffic of passengers is strongest on the weekends.

Furthermore, it is important whether customers have alternative "shopping sources": in Croatia, given the shape and proximity of its borders, they have open shops in neighbouring countries, especially in Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. Therefore, the restriction or ban on work on Sundays could result in an outflow of demand from Croatian customers to surrounding countries.

In other words, our customers could once again be helping to bolster neighbouring countries' economies, at a time when Croatia is finally starting to attract customers from overseas. Finally, there is the question of the moment when such proposals come.

''I think it's better to think about the growth of compensation for forms of work such as work on Sundays than it is to restrict work, especially because we lack the workforce and because Croatian tourism is strong. If one wants to work on Sundays and pay their workers 50 percent or more for that, then one should be allowed to work. It's up to the state to create a framework for work,'' said Lovrincevic, who believes that compensation for working outside regular working hours could be increased.

In the end, he adds, it's a sociological issue. Shopping malls have also become places for people to go and hang out on weekends, so bans in that area could also negatively affect people's habits. Nevertheless, some macroeconomists believe that restricting work on Sundays would not necessarily have a negative impact on the Croatian economy.

''Purchase power doesn't depend on working hours but on income. In Croatia, working on Sundays will not significantly increase the income of these traders, and it has negative consequences in the segment of family and social development. Therefore, my suggestion is not to work on Saturday afternoons and Sundays, with shops open until 10pm on Thursdays,'' concludes Ljubo Jurcic from the Faculty of Economics in Zagreb.

A quick look at the arguments from both sides:

1) Reasons against Sunday restrictions on shops:

- The question is whether such a move would even pass the constitutionality test

- Most tourists in Croatia stay in private accommodation and campsites and are connected to shops

- Croatia is a transit country and many who go through it also buy things in its stores, especially on weekends

- Part of the traffic in the stores will flow from Croatia to the neighbouring countries

2) Reasons for Sunday restrictions on shops:

- Shopping in stores does not depend on their opening hours but on people's disposable income

- Trade unions advocate restricting Sunday shops

- Trade is not an activity that must be done on Sundays

- Labour shortages are present in stores as well

For more, follow our business and lifestyle pages.

Friday, 24 January 2020

Cigarettes and Fuel: Croats Still Hopping Over Bosnian Border for Bargains

Though the sought after produce and shopping aims may alter, Croats will likely always be hopping over the Bosnian border for something or other...

As Novac/Stanislav Soldo writes on the 23rd of January, 2020, previously, oil, milk, sugar were being bought over the border in neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina, and today it is mainly fuel, because the aforementioned basic foodstuffs are now being sold much more cheaply than they used to in large shopping centres in Croatia, which are increasingly attracting buyers from Bosnia and Herzegovina in a rather ironic trend reversal.

Thus, Dalmatians now travel over the Bosnian border to purchase fuel and cigarettes, while citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina come to Croatia for consumer goods that are sold in typical Dalmatian shopping centres.

Although fuel has now become significantly cheaper here in Croatia, it is still cheaper over the Bosnian border, and on top of that fuel stations in Bosnia and Herzegovina typically accept not only the Croatian kuna as payment, but euros and various types of card.

Because they can save about a hundred kuna, residents of Dalmatian border areas, such as the Neretva valley and wider region, Vrgorac, Imotski and the surrounding areas have been taking a quick trip over the Bosnian border and tanking there for years on end now.

The most sought-after Eurosuper 95 from over the Bosnian border costs 2.20 BAM (convertible marks), which, when converted to kuna, stands at around HRK 8.47, while in Croatia, the same fuel comes with a price tag of HRK 9.98.

Therefore, the price over the Bosnian border is lower by about HRK 1.51 per litre of petrol. Diesel in Bosnia and Herzegovina costs 2.30 BAM or HRK 8.85, while its price in Croatia is HRK 9.85, so, over the Bosnian border it is significantly cheaper per litre. The calculation is simple, and the monetary savings per litre of fuel are more than reason enough for more and more drivers from Dalmatia to fill their tanks out of Croatia and just over the Bosnian border.

Despite the lower price of fuel in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croats who still don't take advantage of the bargains refrain from doing so owing to fear that it may be of lower quality than that sold here in Croatia. Specifically, lower quality standards are applied in Bosnia and Herzegovina than in Croatia, so some types of derivatives contain higher amounts of sulfur than those purchased within Croatian territory.

However, a lower price breaks down the majority of barriers for all sorts of people, especially in these more difficult times when people's pockets are shallower and wallets often somewhat lighter.

In addition to refueling, certain brands of coffee can be drunk at fuel stations across the Bosnian border for about HRK 4, and cigarettes, which are on average cheaper by about HRK 5 per pack.

''Even if fuel and cigarettes in Bosnia and Herzegovina were to get more expensive, it will still be more profitable for us to buy it there than in Croatia!,'' customers from Dalmatia state. They are not afraid of potentially poor quality fuel being sold over the Bosnian border.

''Oh, they're just stories, you can usually get simple 95 or 98, which is better quality than it is in Croatia,'' they claim.

All this is reason enough to "pull" many Dalmatians across the Bosnian border at least twice a month for fuel and cigarettes or cut tobacco, which cannot be legally brought into the Republic of Croatia.

''I know cigarettes are harmful, but I can't stop smoking, that's the only pleasure I have. I have no money for a box of "Croatian" cigarettes. I used to buy cigarettes over the border, and now I only buy tobacco and I roll it myself,'' one pensioner stated, who barely makes ends meet with her 1,800 kuna pension. When purchasing it over the Bosnian border, a mere 20 BAM spent is enough for a whole month of enjoying nicotine for her.

Experienced Croatian cross-border shoppers and seasoned bargain hunters claim that sell shopping malls are receiving kuna in the shopping centres close to the Bosnian border with Croatia, but the exchange rate is not that favourable, so it is more profitable to pay with a card.

However, if you go deeper into Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Croatian kuna stops being accepted tender. They want only Bosnian convertible marks there, or you'll need to pay with a card. However, even in this case, it's also still well worth the purchase for most.

Another added benefit is VAT refunds at the Bosnian border and the only condition is that the goods must be removed from the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for much more.

Page 2 of 3