Kaufland Bulgaria remains the country's largest retailer for the 12th consecutive year. The hypermarket chain, owned by Germany's Schwarz Gruppe, posted a turnover of 1.9 billion levs (950 million euro) in 2021. Sales grew by 9%, compared to an increase of 5.4% the year before. Last year the chain opened its 61st hypermarket in this country (in the town of Petrich). After launching online sales in 2020, last year the company reached 13 Bulgarian cities in partnership with food delivery site Glovo. Its e-portfolio already includes more than 5,000 products. In 2022 the company plans to expand its sales network mainly in Sofia and continue renovating its hypermarkets, as well as widen the space for frozen foods at its logistic base in the city of Plovdiv.
The classical supermarket chains however saw the smallest rise in turnover in 2021 (9.9%) of all retailers in Bulgaria. The drug store segment was the best performer among fast-moving consumer goods (up by 16%), followed by alcohol and cigarette traders (13.4%). The non-food segment was driven mainly by fashion stores (which grew 45.7%) and furniture (28%), followed by sports goods (16%), white and brown goods (15.4%) and DIY chains (12%).
The sales of the top 30 retailers in Bulgaria increased by 13% on the average, reaching a total of 10.7 billion levs.
Fast-moving consumer goods
Runner-up Lidl, which is also part of Schwarz Gruppe, shortened the distance to Kaufland, as its sales went up by some 16%, exceeding 1.5 billion levs. In 2021 the company opened four new hypermarkets (two in Sofia and one in the town of Troyan and the city of Plovdiv each). At the end of the year its network comprised 109 stores in 50 cities and towns. The number is planned to reach 115 in 2022.
The competition for the third position in the top 30 ranking, which traditionally is very tight, in 2021 was won by Metro Cash and Carry Bulgaria. The company led Billa Bulgaria by some 8 million levs revenue.
There were objective reasons for Metro's good performance: the travel and hospitality business recovered after the pandemic-marred 2020 and the company booked a 10.6% rise in sales after a 2% drop the year before.
Metro kept on developing its online sales channel for B2B clients with a focus on hotels and restaurants. In 2021 the company also started online sales and deliveries to end-customers in partnership with Kolichka.bg.
Billa's sales went up 3.4% in 2021 after falling 0.6% in 2020. Like-for-like sales increased 2.38% and the company opened 11 new hypermarkets in small towns. With 141 stores at the end of the year Billa had the widest network in Bulgaria. In 2022 the company plans to open 15 more stores and build a new logistic facility near the city of Stara Zagora.
The fifth place in the ranking was also occupied by a food retailer, Fantastico, which sped up its revenue growth to 11.7% from 5.5% the year before. Last year the chain opened two new hypermarkets (in the cities of Pernik and Botevgrad. Its sales network reached 45 stores, most of them in Sofia. The share of Fantastico's online sales is insignificant.
The two drug store chains in the top 30 ranking posted a two-digit increase in sales in 2021, after stagnating and booking losses in 2020. The revenue of Lilly Drogerie (19th position) went up 19.7% and that of dm-drogeriemarkt (14th position) grew 13.7%.
Household equipment and DIY
Household equipment trader Technopolis and DIY chain Praktiker, which ranked 6th and 11th respectively, are both owned by Videolux Holding of Bozhidar Kolev and Todor Belchev. Their total revenue was close to 957 million levs, which made the group the second largest retailer in Bulgaria after Schwarz Gruppe. Technopolis's sales were up by 5.7% and those of Praktiker rose by 18.3%.
Technopolis has 34 hypermarkets for white and brown goods, office and IT equipment in 25 Bulgarian cities and towns. The company opened no new stores last year. Praktiker opened a new DIY store in the city of Pazardzhik in 2021, taking the number of its outlets to 14 DIY.
The other large chain for household equipment, Technomarket, was 9th in the ranking with about half Technopolis's sales. In 2021 it booked a small rise in revenue (1.25%).
The sales of Zora household equipment retailer (10th) recovered last year. After three years of 20% increases, turnover growth in 2020 was a touch above zero. But in 2021 the sales were up again in the double digits - by 16.6%. According to information on its website, the company has 36 stores and is building a logistic center in the town of Bozhurishte (near Sofia).
Emag International, which runs the eMAG electronic store, reported a 44.5% increase in revenue in 2021, following 74% growth in 2020. Most of the sales come from household and office equipment and IT goods. Emag International already has three physical stores in Bulgaria: two in Sofia and one in Plovdiv.
After seeing its growth slow down for three consecutive years, reaching 5.5% in 2020, last year Techmart's sales (13th) surged 22.5% and the company tripled its profit to 4.5 million levs. The chain has seven stores in Sofia and 15 elsewhere in the country. It also sells goods online.
In the DIY segment, runner-up Doverie Brico, which holds Mr. Bricolage chain, increased its sales by 12%. The smallest rise (3%) was booked by Baumax, which has eight HomeMax stores.
The sales of furniture retailers in the ranking increased by an average of 28% in 2021, mainly thanks to Denmark's JYSK (7th). Its Bulgarian company, Jysk Bul, reported a 37.7% surge in revenue to 431 million levs. Jysk Bul's turnover skyrocketed by 145.5% in 2020 after the company opened a distribution center in Bulgaria, servicing 275 stores in the Balkans. The result includes all the sales in the region but there is no information about the share of the Bulgarian market. The company is currently expanding its logistic facility near Sofia, which will increase its capacity by 30%. In mid-2022 Jysk had 44 stores in Bulgaria, as well as online sales.
The revenue of furniture and home accessories chain IKEA (20th) went up 13% in 2021 after slumping 11% the year before. The company has two stores in Sofia, one in the city of Varna and two pick-up points - in Burgas and Plovdiv. It started online sales in 2015 and at the end of 2020 they accounted for 18% of all IKEA's sales in Bulgaria (no data is available for 2021). The chain is run by House Market Bulgaria, a subsidiary of Greece's Fourlis Group, which holds IKEA's franchise rights for Bulgaria.
Aiko (26th) managed to make up for the 4.7% drop in revenue in the pandemic year 2020 and booked a 12.3% increase in 2021. Since 2015 Aiko has been owned by the world's second biggest furniture group, Austria's XXXLutz, which also bought Mobbo chain (now Mömax). In 2021 Aiko had two stores in Sofia and one in Varna, Burgas and Stara Zagora each.
Toys and household goods retailer Jumbo (15th) reported a slim rise in revenue by 0.6% in 2021 but a 23% surge in profit. Thus Jumbo EC.B remained the most profitable company in top 20 with a margin of 24.5%.
Fashion and sports
Clothes trade was seriously affected by the pandemic but in 2021 it had its renaissance. The average growth of the four fashion companies in the ranking was 45.7%.
The champion in the segment was Poland's Pepco (17th) with a rise of nearly 85% in revenue. Unlike the other three fashion retailers, it booked an increase in 2020 too. Last year Pepco climbed up by 11 positions and is now the largest clothes company in the ranking. The company has been expanding rapidly and already has 118 stores in Bulgaria.
Zara came in second in terms of rise in revenue (58.5%). In 2020 the company's sales plummeted 33%.
LC Waikiki was third with a 35% increase in sales last year (a 15.4% drop in 2020). In 2021 the company opened four new stores and its network now includes 29 outlets.
The smallest growth rate in the fashion segment was posted by H&M. The company sales went up 20% in 2021 after a 21% drop the year before.
The interest in sports goods peaked during the pandemic and though it is subsiding already, the two companies in the ranking grew by an average of 16% last year. France's Decathlon performed better with a 27% rise in revenue. Sport Depot's sales went up 5% and its profit decreased by about half a million to 3 million levs.