Romania ranks the 24th in the top of emerging retail markets carried out by A.T. Kearney which comprises 30 developing countries for retail investment worldwide according to 25 different macroeconomic, retail-oriented criteria such as GDP growth, income per capita and market saturation, measuring countries with populations of at least 5 million, and urban populations of 1 million or more.
Romania enters the A.T. Kearney’s Global Retail Development Index (GRDI), driven by steady GDP growth and decreased corruption, the survey shows.
“Although the country’s population is 45 percent rural, modern trade is developing fast. Major retailers are expanding aggressively with smaller formats. One of the market leaders, Carrefour, acquired the Billa chain of supermarkets, and Mega Image, the leading supermarket in Bucharest, has focused on opening flagship stores to strengthen its brand equity among middle- to upper-class shoppers,” the survey reads.
Shopping center expansion continues, encouraged by economic recovery and rising consumer spending. In 2015, more than 150,000 square meters of shopping center space opened in Romania, and five more shopping centers will open in 2016. Market entrants that have opened in these new malls or are expected to include Forever 21, Lanidor, Tezenis, Michael Kors, Kiehl’s and Chanel.
According to A.T. Kearney’s GRDI, smartphones and laptop sales are boosting electronics retail. Players such as Flanco (30 new stores) and Altex (shifting sales focus toward e-commerce) are expanding aggressively. Do-it-yourself, on the other hand, is consolidating as it is currently crowded by about 10 existing players.
“Scale challenges remain,” the survey concludes, noting that McDonald’s, which has 67 stores and 10 percent market share, sold its Romanian operations to a franchisee.
“The market size was considered too small for maintaining a direct presence,” A.T. Kearney said.
Romania is behind Russia and Zambia, but ahead of Paraguay and Tunisia. China ranks as the top country in A.T. Kearney’s GRDI, followed by India, whose high market potential, fast growth, improved regulatory environment, and ease of doing business pulled it up to second in the rankings.