Mercator is one of the largest and most successful retail chains in south-eastern Europe, as well as the market leader in Slovenia.
The retailer is also very active in the Serbian, Croatian, and Bosnia and Herzegovinian markets, and commitment to south-eastern Europe continues: in 2007, Mercator entered Montenegro, followed by Bulgaria and Albania two years later. Mercator invests primarily in large shopping centres in capital cities as well as in smaller regional markets.
Since Mercator opened its first shopping centres and hypermarkets, we have cultivated intensive co-operation with manufacturers and suppliers of shop solutions. We are constantly working on attractive and enticing market concepts for our customers. We have never been satisfied with ordinary in-store ideas. Far more often we look for the ideal solution, and actively involve ourselves with all of our expertise in each and every planning and development phase.
We encourage our business partners to continually offer us new solutions that they can, of course, also test with us in practice. At the same time, Mercator promotes standardisation processes in order to pass on high quality as well as creative, modern and functional solutions to various market formats.
Our newest store formats deal with energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly solutions and the further development of technological processes. This commitment is paying off: customers gladly return to the Mercator stores and enjoy the pleasant atmosphere and the great shopping experience.
The renovation and extension of the Šiška hypermarket in Ljubljana in 2007 with a new store concept implemented here for the first time is certainly noticeable. The entire design was redeveloped, and numerous innovative technologies and energy-efficient solutions were also implemented. We had very little time to implement all the ideas, and in addition to our suppliers, we worked together with an external consultancy agency. The store in the Maxi Market Passage in Ljubljana is another highlight. During its development we ensured a constant exchange of experience with external consultants as well as with our suppliers. Because the entire building is listed, there was a considerable need for mutual co-ordination. But I have to say that the imaginative and visually attractive design combined with technological solutions of the most contemporary standard in this Maxi Market represents a breakthrough in store design in Slovenia. This is very clear to see in the reactions of our customers.
Wanzl delivered the following to the Šiška hypermarket in Ljubljana, amongst other things:
Within 13 years, the regionally oriented retail chain supplier became a rapidly growing business, with 25 employees. Smeh has been a successful Wanzl representative in Slovenia since it was established. Meanwhile, its business activities have extended to Croatia and Serbia. Today, Smeh is considered an expert for the development and realisation of in-store concepts, taking into consideration regional characteristics and customer preferences. Smeh's special strength, working together with Wanzl as a shop solutions specialist, is the optimum use of sales floor space.
Smeh opened a new logistics centre in the Serbian town of Stara Pazova, with 1,200 square metres of storage and office space, and a show room. This investment has allowed Smeh to lay the foundations necessary to intensify its business activities in south-eastern Europe. As a result, the company is simultaneously perceived and accepted as a 'local supplier' by its trade customers in Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia.