/ / / Piotr i Pawel chain disappears from the Polish market

Piotr i Pawel chain disappears from the Polish market

Piotr i Pawel

Wpis dostępny jest także w języku: polski

In October 2021, the last shop operating under the Piotr i Pawel banner changed to Eurospar. This marked the end of the rebranding process of the Polish chain, which was taken over by the South African SPAR Group.

The Piotr i Pawel chain, which was founded in 1990 by Eleonora Woś and her sons Piotr Woś and Paweł Woś, has operated on the Polish market for 31 years. The history of the family business started with a 60-metre shop in Poznań, being the first step to creating a nationwide grocery chain. For many years, the chain enjoyed the recognition of customers, who were keen to use the wide range of high-quality products and own brands, such as Kuchnia Polki, and in its glory years, the shops operated with a turnover exceeding PLN 2bn. Piotr i Pawel introduced technological innovations, such as the scan&go function or e-store, which attracted new customers. The chain also tested a programme, which was later used by Biedronka supermarkets under the name Gang Słodziaków.

Problems of the Polish chain Piotr i Pawel

Despite its many years on the market, the chain has struggled with numerous problems, which have consistently led to the company’s financial difficulties. As Robert Krzak, formerly a member of the management board and a member of the supervisory board of Piotr i Pawel, and currently a senior advisor at EY Polska, points out, the chain struggled with the too-small scale of its retail operation, as a result of which the company could not compete on price with larger entities. Moreover, the chain did not want to cooperate with other forms of the food industry and located its shops in inappropriate locations. There were also situations in which the chain’s shops were located too close to each other, depriving one another of customers.

Piotr i Pawel also struggled with the so-called curse of the delicatessen, which made customers expect the chain to continue as a premium retailer. Although the company tried to develop as a supermarket chain, it could not compete with discounters appearing in large numbers, which introduced more expensive products at competitive prices. The chain still tried to attract customers with a wide assortment and high-quality products, but the changing market realities and competition made consumers choose larger supermarkets, such as Biedronka or Lidl. The company’s situation was exacerbated by the downgrading of ratings for the retail sector in Poland, which was associated with a reduction in the availability of trade credit and extended payment terms, and consequently led to a shortage of goods in stock.

Changes in ownership structure

In 2017, the chain tried to grow further by opening more shops, as well as collaborating with BP to create Piotr i Pawel Po Drodze convenience stores located at petrol stations. However, at the end of 2017, the company started looking for a strategic investor to take over the majority stake. For some time, the company pursued an investment agreement with TFI Capital Partners, but a target investor was still being sought.

The year 2018 turned out to be extremely difficult for the Piotr i Pawel chain, as suppliers started suing the chain due to untimely payments. Eventually, they filed for bankruptcy of Piotr i Pawel, and soon the chain’s management filed for recovery proceedings, which lasted 2.5 years. During this time, however, it was possible to find an investor who took over the chain for PLN 1 and promised to pay off some of the debts. Thus, in 2019, SPAR Group took over the Polish company, and in 2020 Piotr i Pawel’s creditors backed the arrangement proposals, which included repayment of PLN 95 mln.

SPAR decided to rebrand the Piotr i Pawel shops, which were henceforth to operate under the SPAR, SPAR Express or Eurospar brands. Although the process was prolonged by renegotiations of agreements with the owners of the premises, eventually, the rebranding was introduced in more than 50 shops. In October 2021, the last shop operating under the Piotr i Pawel name became Eurospar.

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