Boston, MA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 04/14/2014 -- Slovenia's retail sector is set to post minimal growth over BMI's forecast period to 2018. Household spending is forecast to rise by 1.0% per annum, aided by falling unemployment and more households entering the middle-income wage bracket of US$10,000-plus, thereby enhancing spending power. However, economic instability still plagues the country, with real GDP growth set to contract by 0.5% in 2014. Despite increased purchasing power, consumer confidence remains low, with premium brands and non-essential items such as clothing and household appliances suffering, allowing discount retailers such as Aldi and Lidl to increase their market share.
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Retail sales increased by 0.7% month-on-month (m-o-m) in November 2013, with the following month witnessing the lowest rate of annual headline inflation for over four years, since October 2009, at just 0.7%. However, with real GDP growth set to decline by 0.5% in 2014, consumer confidence remains low; declines in many retail sub-sectors are anticipated over 2014 and 2015. However, most will post gains from 2016 onwards, buoyed by increased consumer confidence and tourism arrivals, with the latter factor anticipated to result in higher restaurant and hotel spending.
Food & non-alcoholic drinks sales are to see the least year-on-year (y-o-y) growth over the period (0.4% per annum); however, the acquisition of a 53% stake in mass grocery retailer Mercator by Agrokor could see spending rise post-forecast period, with measures put in place over the next few years to drive sales. Slovenian pharmaceuticals companies have a particularly positive outlook, with both Krka and Lek posting good growth forecasts. As a result, health spending will rise, ramping up to 4.7% y-o-y in 2017 and 2018.
- In November 2013, it was announced that Slovenia's competition watchdog had given the all-clear for Agrokor to acquire a 53% stake in Mercator, for around EUR240mn. In January 2014, it was announced that the consortium of 12 shareholders that hold the majority stake in Mercator had almost reached a solution. On February 2, it was reported that more time was required to agree the restructuring of Mercator's debt.
- In August 2013, it was reported that Sportina Group had acquired the Burger King franchise for the Croatian market. It is already the owner of Burger King's franchise for the Slovenian market, where it operates just one restaurant.
- Slovenia's retail sector posted month-on-month (m-o-m) growth of 0.7% for November 2013, according to the country's statistical office. Retail trade, excluding the sales of automotive fuel, grew by 0.5%. Nonfood retail sales, excluding sales of automotive fuel, grew by 1.5% m-o-m, but remained nearly the same as that seen in November 2012. Sales of food, drinks and tobacco rose by 3.2% y-o-y.
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