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Poland: records in online sales and physical store closures

With a domestic market of 38 million people, Poland is the fifth most populous country in the European Union and one of its main markets for fresh produce, with 70% of imports coming from other Member States.
Tue 03/01/2023 by Maria del Mar Valenzuela

Poland has a diverse retail sector. Most of the hypermarkets and department stores are foreign-owned, while local and convenience stores – from small mom-and-pop stores to medium-sized stores – are predominantly Polish. According to a report by Dun & Bradstreet, around 3,000 retail outlets closed in Poland between January and June 2022, leaving a total of 373,000 stores for now, but another 5,000 are expected to shut their doors by the end of the year. This is a record number of closings in a market that, until now, had been marked by rapid growth.

New distribution channels

According to a USDA report, the decrease in stores in Poland is mainly due to three factors: first, a ban on Sunday trade; second, mobility restrictions introduced during the Covid-19 pandemic; and third, the remarkable shift to online shopping. During the pandemic, consumers were encouraged to make purchases online, which has led to them continuing to shop this way for both essential and non-essential goods. The trend is likely to solidify as more consumers become confident about placing online orders. Added to this is the ‘ready-to-eat’ food distribution system, which has also evolved rapidly to become one of the most dynamic areas of the Polish economy.

The pandemic spurred the rapid development of more reliable online shopping platforms.

Slow growth

Imports of fresh products to Poland in 2021 were worth over US$34 billion. Real GDP growth in Poland fell from 5.9% in 2021 to 3.9% in 2022, in large part due to the impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent imposition of sanctions by the EU on Russia, which has contributed to a sharp increase in the price of energy and food.

Key figures

Capital: Warsaw

Population: 37.8 million

GDP: US$596 billion

GDP per capita: US$34,287

Imports of consumer-oriented products: US$18 billion

Top 10 Retailers on the Polish Market in 2021

  1. Biedronka (Portugal)
  2. Lidl and Kaufland (Germany)
  3. ABC, IGA, Delikatesy Centrum (Poland)
  4. Lewiatan (Poland)
  5. Zabka (Poland)
  6. Dino (Poland)
  7. Auchan (France)
  8. Rossman (Germany)
  9. Carrefour (France)
  10. Nasz Sklep (Poland)

Source: Euromonitor

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