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New openings for Mega Image in Bucharest reaching thus the same number of stores as Lidl

22/06/2012 06:52

Mega Image opens today two new Shop & Go stores. Apparently it looks like ordinary news, taking into account the fact that the retailer already accustomed us with its aggressive expansion. But the two new units raise the number of Mega Image stores to 141. That means exactly the same figure reached yesterday by Lidl with the opening from Baia Mare. Without being wrong we can say that for the first time in the last eight years as leaders in tops of the most stores, discounters' supremacy falters.

Appeared as a banner on the Romanian retail market in 1995 when its Lizeanu store was opened, Mega Image has focused its expansion within Bucharest. Although at that time Mega Image's shareholders did not exclusively belong to Delhaize Group, the retailer continued to expand the network. With a rhythm of two stores per year, Mega Image has been in leading position until 2001, when he lost the leadership in favor of Metro. Later, after 2004, the top becomes the exclusive domain of discounters which at that time were in an alert expansion. One by one Profi, Penny Market and Plus have shared leading positions. Recent years have been dominated by Germans from Plus. The network was later taken over by Lidl and continued expansion in an alert rhythm, keeping the leading position.

Today openings brought back on the podium supermarket format. There is a possibility for Mega and Lidl to remain at the same level in what concerns the number of stores at least until the end of the month. Currently Lidl is in preparation for opening the store in Sighetu Marmatiei, while Mega Image has announced another opening. But certainly in July things will change and Mega Image will strengthen its leadership position.

The returning of Mega Image in a leading position in top of the most stores after 11 years represents a warning signal. And not for competition, but for discounters whose supremacy slowly begins to fade. The changes noticed in Romanians' consumption behavior on the economic crisis background are felt in the expansion of retail chains. Although still present on the podium, Lidl and Penny Market might have reasons for concern. As for the other operators in the supermarket channel, the ascension of Mega Image must give them something to think about. The moment is favorable for expansion and the small format of stores considered both by Billa and Carrefour Market in the recent years seems to be the winning solution. It is now up to the decision makers in the two retail chains to know how to exploit the moment.

Florin Frasineanu

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