The Competition Council (the CC), when performing the market study, studied the differences between the express or convenience stores and retail stores and concludes that entry of express stores on the market currently do not cause any significant impact on the retail market structure in general, however, the CC is concerned about the local impact on the market structure in the future.
The two biggest retailers in Latvia since 2018 - SIA RIMI Latvia (RIMI) and SIA Maxima Latvija (MAXIMA) have developed their operations in the sector of convenience stores, enhancing impact on the daily consumer goods retail market. The purpose of study of the CC was to assess the impact of RIMI and MAXIMA express stores on the commercial activity of other competitors and at the same time to assess the impact of expansion of such stores on the total daily retail market.
The information obtained during the study shows that opening of RIMI and MAXIMA express stores do not cause any impact on the retail market structure as far as there are significant differences in the format, availability and product assortment existing between the express stores and supermarkets, and these stores are to be separated as a separate store segment. At the same time the CC indicates on concerns, being related to the possible expansion of express stores and establishment of more aggressive pricing policy in express stores. According to the opinion of the CC, such activity of the key market participants may potentially affect the competition on the market due to the fact that as a result of the transfer of customers small stores may be forced to terminate their commercial activity.
Express stores do not replace daily consumer goods stores
In September 2020 the CC carried out a survey about the consumer habits in express stores, questioning 102 respondents, who move in the central territory of Riga on a daily basis.
Respondents show that the products mostly offered in express stores perform the function of satisfaction of an immediate hunger during the daily rush, when shoppers purposefully buy prepared dishes, sweets, non-alcoholic beverages and other goods, which can be consumed during the day. Consumers most often purchase only two to three product units for the total price below 9.99 euros.
According to the results of the survey, the assortment of products offered by express stores cannot completely replace the daily consumer goods stores or supermarkets and signs of replaceability can be seen only in certain groups of products, such as sweets and snacks, prepared dishes.
The demand for fast purchase places increases
Besides, during the market study the CC established that after opening of RIMI and MAXIMA express stores the financial impact on other convenience stores, which are equal in terms of assortment and place of location, was not significant. That indicates on the increasing demand of shoppers for fast shopping places, where it is possible to purchase food and drinks to be consumed “on the way”.
During the study it was concluded that entry of the key retailers RIMI and MAXIMA in the express store sector, providing the new shopping opportunities for consumers, does not cause any significant obstacles for competition or other competition issues that would essentially affect daily consumer goods retail market structure.