A fight for the purse of panicky Hungarians hit by an immense crisis.
What have you done in Hungry?
Helped Spar from Austria fight the sudden turn of fate that the Hungarian currency crisis forced upon them. If you’re one of the market leaders in supermarkets and hypermarkets you cannot escape to a niche when that crisis made the national consumption drop like a brick. Drastic measures were needed and we gave them in a short time. They were really happy with that, as this interview with CEO Guntram Drexel demonstrates.
How far along the trend of retail-development is Hungary?
Quite a long way. It took Hungary about 8 to 9 years after the Iron Curtain fell to enter a frantic period of growth, which abruptly stopped with the international crisis 2008. By that time many international retailers had established in this central European country, helping to create a rather sophisticated retail infrastructure. Around all cities you can find out-of-town retail areas, and there are many shopping malls.
What’s the special challenge for international retailers in Hungary?
How to earn money in a market that is so hard struck by a currency crisis. In the good years almost every Hungarian household had taken credits in forum currency. When the local currency started to get out of sync, things got pretty desperate for these households. Especially nonfood retail was hit but also supermarkets could register decline in turnover of 20 or 30%.
Can you name a project in Norway that you are proud of?
Spar without doubt. Fascinating project, where market leaders Tesco’s, and Spar battle with local players like ABC in a fight for the purse of panicky Hungarian households that are hit by an immense crisis. Spar, one of the market leaders had to find an answer. We did.