Bulgaria flag Bulgaria: Buying and Selling

The distribution network in Bulgaria

Evolution of the Sector
Despite a GDP growth higher than the EU average, the Bulgarian retail industry experienced significant turmoil in 2016, with the franchise-operated supermarket Carrefour filing for bankruptcy and the domestic supermarkets chain Piccadilly downscaling its business by two-thirds. Actually, the trend of optimization of retailers’ store numbers emerged starting in 2011 when some local retailers had to shut down/sell outlets. Some of Bulgaria’s large hypermarkets and supermarket chains are merging, new entities are being rebranded, others are closing down, and a few others are opening new outlets.

Today, the Bulgarian modern retail market is divided between few brands:
-    Kaufland: 58 stores
-    Lidl: 88 stores
-    Billa: 128 stores
-    Metro Cash&Carry: 11 stores
-    T-market: 69 stores
-    Hit: 2 stores
-    Pro-market: 21 stores
-    Plus (acquired by Lidl)
-    CBA: 146 stores

And the local food market channels:
-    Fantastico: 42 points of sale
-    345 Magazin: 16 stores
Market share

According to Euromonitor International, the Bulgarian distribution market continues to be supported mainly by traditional and often independent grocery stores and stores, which are estimated at around 38,005. The more modern chain stores are growing slowly and there were about 3,301 in 2019.
The market is quite competitive, and the main distributors are:

  • Kaufland - market share estimated at 29% in 2019, according to USDA's latest data available (60 stores)
  • Lidl (99 stores)
  • Metro (11 stores)
  • Billa (130 stores)
Retail Sector Organisations
Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce
Franchising in Bulgaria
Ministry of Trade and Industry

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Latest Update: April 2024