Slovakia flag Slovakia: Buying and Selling

The distribution network in Slovakia

Evolution of the Sector
The Slovak retail sector is composed of private networks of retail and wholesale businesses. The trend in Western-style retailing, which offers a wide variety of products, has been greatly influenced by the operations of foreign companies:
-    Currently, Tesco operates 152 outlets in Slovakia and employs more than 10,000 people. The breakdown includes Tesco department stores, hypermarkets and supermarkets, upscale “galleries,” and a number of small-size retail stores called Tesco Express. Tesco also operates gasoline stations and provides mobile phone and financial services.
-    The second largest retailer in 2016 was Lidl, which belongs to the Schwarz Group along with Kaufland. It operates about 130 stores throughout Slovakia, with more than 4,000 employees.
-    Kaufland, the third largest retail chain in 2016, operates 65 stores and employs about 4,500 people in Slovakia.
-    Billa is the fourth largest retailer, with 130 stores and about 4,000 employees, Billa is an important employer in Slovakia. Billa operates smaller supermarkets and hypermarkets in shopping centers and downtown areas.
-    Metro Cash & Carry is Slovakia’s fifth largest retailer. Metro’s six large hypermarkets sell products and operate on a similar business model as Costco and Sam’s Club chains in the United States.

Other international retail chains in Slovakia include Hornbach, OBI, Bauhaus, Drogerie Markt (DM), IKEA, and KIKA. Major Slovak retailers include COOP Jednota and Terno. The expansion of large retail chains has caused smaller businesses to consolidate or liquidate, laying the groundwork for franchising opportunities.

Bratislava is located in the southwestern corner of Slovakia and has the largest metropolitan population in the country, making it the most important retail market with the best-developed distribution networks. The cities of Kosice, Trnava, Trencin, Zilina, Poprad, and Nitra are the major manufacturing areas in Slovakia and are also important retail markets.
Market share

Hypermarkets are the most popular type of mass retailer, closely followed by supermarkets. Discounters witnessed the fastest growth rate in recent years, and have had great success owing to the low-income level of Slovak households. Convenience stores are the third-largest retailers. Online retail is becoming increasingly popular.

  • Tesco is the leader in the retail sector, with a 16.7% value share and 150 stores. It operates under the Tesco (hypermarket and supermarket) and Tesco Express (convenience store) brand name.
  • Lidl is the second-largest retailer, with an 11.2% value share and 135 stores
  • Kaufland is the third-largest retail chain, with a 10.7% value share and 70 stores
  • Coop Jednota Potraviny has a 10.2% market share
  • Coop Jednota Supermarket has a 7.5% market share
  • Billa (supermarket and hypermarkets) has a 6.8% market share with 132 stores
  • Metro Cash&Carry is the fifth-largest retailer with 6 hypermarkets

(Source: USDA, latest data available)
In the non-food sectors, national retailers are among the largest actors; for instance, the consumer electronic goods sector is dominated by two local companies:

Retail Sector Organisations
Slovak association for commerce and tourism (in Slovak)
Slovak Direct Selling Association
Ministry of Economy of the Slovak Republic

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Latest Update: May 2024