“Price war” in the supermarket sector

A court decision on a restructuring plan of Marinopoulos SA is expected by mid-December, while a “price war” in the supermarket sector is raging with all large supermarket companies preparing for the day after.

Market sources told ANA it was certain that consumer product prices will be cheaper in 2017 compared with this year’s levels. The only question needed to be answered was whether the cost of this reduction would burden supermarket companies or their suppliers.

The latest developments in the market are a power struggle between who will pay more money in this price war. Greek medium-sized supply companies are seemed to be the weakest link in this battle, a development that caused the unprecedented intervention of the Federation of Northern Greece Industries recently.

AB Vasilopoulos SA, the largest supermarket chain in Greece and the biggest benefitor from the collapse of Marinopoulos SA, is the leading player in this price war, aiming to maintain its improved market share in 2017 and to continue an aggressive policy of offers and low prices. Market sources said the only way for AB Vasilopoulos to achieve this goal and to preserve its high profitability was to improve the level of offers receiving from its suppliers.

Lidl is another key player in this price war, taking advantage of its “no name” products, a strong factor in the Greek retail sector, followed by Metro SA (My market) which aims to raise its sales above one billion euros in 2016 following the takeover of Veropoulos supermarkets. Masoutis SA is another key player as the company examines its expansion in the Attica market (a decision is expected next spring).

All eyes are not focusing on Sklavenitis SA and whether it will manage to revive Marinopoulos SA network.

Sklavenitis is currently supplying a limited number of Marinopoulos units in an effort to keep them afloat, according to ANA information. Around 70 Marinopoulos’ units continue operating as part of a provisional funding agreement worth 26 million euros (15 million by Sklavenitis and 11 million by Marinopoulos family) envisaged by a restructuring plan agreed with creditor banks.

Sklavenitis plans to launch a fourth hypermarket on Monday 21, November in Athens.