Retailer a bit overambitious

  • 2003-04-10

The ambitious expansion plans of Lithunia's top retailer VP Market into the Polish market went unnoticed by major retailers already operating there.

VP Market, which plans to open 1,000 small discount T-Market stores in Poland over the next three to four years, said it would even consider moving its company headquarters to Warsaw after Lithuania joins the European Union. The announcement last week received little attention in Poland.

Representatives of several global retailers operating in Poland refused comment on VP Market's plans.

Anna Sierpinska, commercial director of the Portuguese budget retailer Jeronimo Martins Distribution, said retail competition in Poland was strong and that there were few openings for new players, the business newspaper Verslo Zinios reported.

JMD operates about 700 discount Biedronka stores in Poland and is seen as VP Market's main competitor in the country. Biedronka posted a turnover of 2.3 billion litas (666.66 million euros) last year.

VP Market hopes to capture 5 percent to 7 percent of Poland's retail market within three to four years. Andrius Stonkus, a retailing analyst at the Lithuanian firm Prime Investment, said openings in the Polish market existed for small discount stores. Foreign chains, like the French retail giant Carrefour, operate large outlets, he said.

"The number of retailer chains selling economy goods in Poland is not very big," Stonkus said. "VP Market has chosen the right segment."