East Europe proves lucrative for retailers

Poland is set to become the next target for Western European retailers, according to a new report. It is anticipated that such a move could trigger a design boom as retail brands seek to become established in a fast-growing East European market.

The report, from retail research company Corporate Intelligence, states that UK retailers also consider Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania as ripe for potential expansion.

According to Wendy Wood, CI’s research manager, many retailers are exporting their current brand image, but using designers to advise on tweaks to make their concepts palatable to the local market.

Wood also predicts an increasing tendency towards new-build out-of-town shopping centres controlled by Western European property developers. It is thought they are likely to employ Western European designers for the work.

The research findings are highlighted by retailer Tesco’s 8m deal this month to buy a 79 per cent stake in Savia, the Polish food retailing group.

A Tesco spokesman says the deal underlines the retailer’s commitment to expansion into the Eastern European market, but no decision has been made about how the Tesco brand will trade in Poland.

But Tesco is already trading in Hungary and this year decided to reverse an initial decision to operate under the local Hungarian brand. It now has 20 stores trading under the Tesco concept.

Other retailers cashing in on the Eastern European market include BP, which is opening a chain of petrol stations in Poland, and Clark’s Shoes’ K Shoes brand, which is also operating in Poland.

Casino, France’s third largest retailer, is meanwhile working on a hypermarket in the Polish capital Warsaw, with design work by Crabtree Hall/Plan Créatif.

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