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Zabka drives convenience segment growth

Assorted Fruits and Vegetables in Refrigerator

Wpis dostępny jest także w języku: polski

On 25 February 2021, the Zabka chain opened its 7,000th store in the historic town of Biecz. The Zabka in Biecz will be run by a regional franchisee with her family.

The new store is located on the market square and is visually fully adapted to the location’s historical make up – it is the first Zabka store in Biecz, which seals the chain’s growing development in small towns.

Currently, over 5,600 local entrepreneurs run 7,000 Zabka stores throughout Poland. Zabka is also growing dynamically in towns below 50,000 inhabitants – in 2020 it opened its first local stores in 78 towns.

PMR expert’s view

Agnieszka Skonieczna
Retail Business Unit Director

The convenience store segment was a fast-growing part of grocery retail in Poland even before Covid, but it has made major gains in the pandemic. According to PMR data, sales in convenience stores grew in value by almost 10% in 2020. It was the biggest increase of any format, even ahead of discount stores and proximity supermarkets.

With schools, universities and many offices shut, and with concerns about catching the virus running high (especially in the early phase of the pandemic), Poles stayed at home much more, and moved around in public spaces much less, in 2020. They preferred to shop closer to home, and tried to avoid large crowds. Small-format stores benefitted from that.

Although it looks like the pandemic will be brought under control in 2021, that is not to say things will get back to pre-Covid normal. Some of the new consumer behaviours are going to stick. Being close to the customer will remain key, but convenient location alone will not be enough. Having a compelling offer in categories such as ready meals, food-to-go, organic, and locally-sourced products will be a very important part of building competitive advantage. Sales in convenience stores in 2021 will not grow as sharply as in 2020, but still at a very robust rate.

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