20 April 2011
Poland : Distribution and Import Channels
Continued retail consolidation
Poland’s retail sector has been growing steadily in recent years, while the total number of shops reduced to 385,700 in 2008 from 449,000 by end-2002, after fast growth in the early 1990s, and more importantly due to the rise of hypermarket and supermarket groups, which currently sell both food and non-food items, including a wide range of consumer goods of reasonable quality and at competitive prices. Other retail outlets selling similar items are thus subject to intensified competition, resulting in a fall in the number of such retail shops.
Thanks to their competitive prices, wide-ranging offerings and generous in-store credit, hypermarkets, supermarkets and discount stores are important players in the Polish retail sector, accounting for more than a quarter of the total store-based retail sales in the country. In a bid to satisfy the rising consumerism and preference for one-stop shopping in Poland, many hypermarket/supermarket chains in the country have renovated their stores and incorporated more non-grocery goods such as clothing, footwear and electronics products. This movement not only helps diversify hypermarkets/supermarkets’ business in Poland, but also further circumscribes the growth of grey and second-hand markets. The vast distribution networks throughout the whole country of these hypermarkets/supermarkets are certainly good business counterparts with whom Hong Kong exporters should make contact when planning to tap into the Polish market. As a matter of fact, some of these hypermarket/supermarket chains have set up offices or appointed agents in the Chinese mainland or other Southeast Asian countries to perform sourcing and quality control. To jump start, Hong Kong exporters can approach the offices of these Polish buyers in Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland for business.
Meanwhile, the growing popularity of shopping centres in Poland has led to the building of larger and better stocked stores, though relatively scattered. There are currently over 270 modern shopping centres in Poland. Some 94% of these are traditional shopping centres and 6% are retail parks and factory outlets. Out of a total 6.5 million square metres of shopping-centre space in Poland, two-thirds are located in major cities with more than 400,000 inhabitants.
Selected major shopping centres in Warsaw
|Janki Shopping Centre||http://www.chjanki.pl|
Nowadays, Polish shoppers look not only for value, but also an improved shopping experience. To enhance the entertainment value of the shopping experience and in particular to appease the younger generation’s preference for modern shopping, many shopping centres in Poland have undergone renovation and incorporated into their shopping centres more elements like movie theatres, coffee shops, beauty and spa salons, fine boutiques and restaurants.
In fact, the development of organised retail has gone hand in hand with the mushrooming of national retailers that have retail points scattered across the whole country and in neighbouring countries. These national retail operators are good partners for new-to-the-market Hong Kong companies when making their debut in Poland as well as the CEE region.
Selected examples of national importers/distributors and retailers in Poland
|Consumer electronics||Manta Multimedia||www.manta.com.pl|
|Jewellery and timepieces||YES Biżuteria||www.yes.pl|
|PHU Togo Chronoline||www.chronoline.pl|
|Toys and games||Smyk||www.smyk.com|
|AM Zabawki Marek Abramczuk||www.amzabawki.pl|
|Euro-Trade PHZ Golińscy||www.euro-trade.pl|
|ALEXIS II E. I M. Łukasik||www.alexis.com.pl|
|Gifts and premiums||Bonus Marengo SC||www.bonus.pl|
|LPP Tex S.A.||www.lpptex.com.pl|
Growing foreign participation
Like many other emerging markets, Poland sees increases in the participation of foreign players in its retail sector. Notably, the largest retailing groups in the country are mainly foreign operators, including Jeronimo Martins (Portugal), Tesco (UK), Carrefour, Auchan and E. Leclerc (France) in the hypermarket and/or supermarket sector. While the arrival of such foreign operators has made the shopping atmosphere more accommodating, they have intensified competition, especially in the low-to-mid range market. While the leading retailers in the market are selling both imported and locally sourced products, the price levels of their products are more or less similar to, and in some cases even slightly higher than those found in Hong Kong. This is due mainly to value-added taxes that have been embedded in the selling prices, despite the lower operational and labour costs in Poland.
Small shops and open markets
While organised retail has fared well in Poland, small shops and open markets continue to play a significant role in the Polish retail market. This is because consumers are used to buying everyday items at local small shops close to their residence during normal working days, given that shopping centres are not nearby for many households. Apart from household goods and groceries, items on offer from these small shops include clothing, watches and clocks, sporting goods, toys, bags and briefcases, and small electronic and electrical items. Prices of these products, originating from both Polish and overseas suppliers, are usually less expensive and affordable for general households, though after-sales services are usually unavailable.