Croatia flag Croatia: Buying and Selling

The distribution network in Croatia

Evolution of the Sector
With over 20% of the nation’s population and its central location, the capital city of Zagreb is the primary distribution center for the country. The port cities of Split and Rijeka are also important distribution points, and the eastern city of Osijek is the largest and most important distribution point in that region of the country. Croatia’s geographic location, access to seaports, and well-developed road (but not rail) transportation system give the country distinct advantages as a regional distribution point, particularly to countries located within the geographic area of the former Yugoslavia.

There are an estimated 7,500 retail outlets in Croatia (including kiosks, small shops, and open markets). The privatization of the distribution sector has been very successful and the sector is now almost completely privately owned, with many “green-field” investments made in the past decade. In recent years, newly developed shopping centers (such as Importanne, King Cross, Kaptol Centar, Avenue Mall, City Centar One, West Gate, Garden Mall, and Arena Centar in Zagreb), modernized or newly-established domestic supermarket and retail chains (such as Konzum, Dinova-Diona, Prehrana, Plodine), and foreign chains (such as Billa, DM, Mercatone, Metro, Bauhaus, Baumax, Kaufland, Lidl, and Interspar) have become dominant players in the marketplace.  When the most important domestic retail chain Konzum and its parent company Agrokor faced severe financial difficulties in early 2017, the Croatian government intervened to prevent bankruptcy and appointed a commissioner to help the creditors restructure the company.  The company is currently undergoing restructuring that could affect its distribution channels and footprint in the region.

Croatia's distribution system is formalized by the Law on Trade which regulates the activities of wholesalers and retailers.
Market share
There are an estimated 7,500 retail outlets in Croatia (including kiosks, small shops and open markets). Recently, newly developed shopping centres (such as Importanne, King Cross, Kaptol Centar, Avenue Mall, City Centar One, West Gate, Garden Mall and Arena Centar in Zagreb), supermarkets and modernised national retail chains newly established (such as Konzum, Dinova-Diona, Prehrana, Plodine) and foreign chains (such as Billa, DM, Mercatone, Metro, Bauhaus, Baumax, Kaufland, Lidl and Interspar) have become dominant players in the market. (ITA, 2019 latest data available)
In early 2017, the largest chain store Konzum, whose parent company is Agrokor, faced major financial difficulties. The Croatian government intervened to prevent bankruptcy and appointed a commissioner to help creditors restructure the company.
There is an increasing trend towards internationalisation and concentration in the sector, including the development of shopping centres, department stores and the establishment of international hypermarket chains.
Retail Sector Organisations
Wholesale trade association at the Croatian Employer Association (in Croatian only)
Croation E-commerce association
Ministry of Economy, Entrepreneurships and Crafts
Croatian Chamber of Economy

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Latest Update: April 2022

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