Merchants welcome entry of Spar shop network into Latvia

Take note – story published 1 year ago

This summer, a new player will join in the Latvian retail network – the Netherlands store network “Spar”. Latvian traders' association says that the customer will be the winner as Spar will diversify the range of goods available, Latvian Radio reported on June 8. 

SEB bank economist Dainis Gašpuitis welcomed the arrival of a new shop on Latvian Radio from a consumer point of view. “The supply will expand and this is a chain that offers relatively lower prices than other players,” the economist said. 

“In other words, they are able to offer relatively cheaper goods, and this could lead to increased interest. Because we have seen for a long time that, on average, we have higher price levels than in other countries, which means that it certainly benefits us as buyers. Whether producers will be very happy about this is another thing,” Gašpuitis said.

The concern about producers' satisfaction with the entry of this new network of shops was based on the experience that there are relatively few local producers in shops of this segments as they have to compete with large European companies that can produce at higher volumes, with lower prices, respectively.

Henriks Danusēvičs, president of the Latvian Traders' Association (LTA), said the diversification of the products with the entry of Spar would be beneficial. 

“There will be more [commodities]. Let's say Lidl, these are German goods or Polish goods, then perhaps the Netherlands and other Benelux countries will be more represented here. We have had a “Spar” 20 years ago, so it will not be a surprise for many, but a pleasant return of the European network to Latvia,” Danusēvičs said.

Whether Spar will also be a significant competitor to the established networks in Latvia, Danusēvičs said: “It will depend on how extensive the network will be. According to current estimates, it could be initially up to 15 stores, so it will bring about a change in Riga, but it will not be a major market reallocation."

It should be recalled that a network of international shops – Lidl – already entered Latvia relatively recently. Danusēvičs acknowledged that Lidl has managed to attract customers from other shops who are satisfied by the relatively narrow assortment, but good price. However, due to the war in Ukraine, Latvia is currently experiencing a significant influx of people and is likely to absorb the redistribution of customers.


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