About the Group

History

Milestones of development:


1949

Establishment of the "Živila Ljubljana" wholesale company, the predecessor of Poslovni sistem Mercator, d.d. Author of photography: Edi Šelhaus, National Museum of Contemporary History

From 1953 to 1990

Mercator’s development during this period was characterized primarily by connections established with smaller local commercial, industrial, agricultural, catering, and service companies on the basis of interest, whereby all companies retained their legal independence. Author of photography: Marjan Ciglič, National Museum of Contemporary History

1993 to 1995

Mercator establishes capital ties with its subsidiaries – the beginning of organization into an affiliated group and the establishment of the name Poslovni sistem Mercator and in 1993 start of privatization with an initial public offering of shares, the largest privatization project in Central Europe by volume and value of capital. Privatization of Poslovni sistem Mercator, d.d., company, the largest Slovenian joint stock company, is completed, with the ownership taken over by national funds and some 63,000 minority shareholders. Author of photography: Vlastja Simončič, National Museum of Contemporary History

1997

A breakthrough year in company’s business operations, as it became one of the most successful trading companies in the former Yugoslav region. Poslovni sistem Mercator, d.d., had operated with a loss and lacked a real vision up to 1997; in October of that year now, it got a new Management Board, headed by Zoran Janković. Upon assuming its duties, the new Management Board adopted an ambitious strategic development plan aimed at ending the negative orientation the company had taken during the previous years and creating the best trading company in the country, akin to the largest European and global commercial chains. Author of photography: Marjan Ciglič, National Museum of Contemporary History

The 1998 – 2003 period

In this period, the company saw its internal restructuring and carried out the activities required for the integration of Slovenian trade industry in the segment of alimentary and other products. This called for economic and business efficiency, a resolute approach to the market, and an accelerated development of the retail network, supported heavily by marketing activities. Particularly in Slovenia, the processes of forming intensive capital ties and taking over commercial companies got underway. With the establishment of subsidiaries in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia and Montenegro, Mercator also entered foreign markets.Author of photography: Marjan Ciglič, National Museum of Contemporary History

2004

In 2004, Slovenia entered the European Union. In spite of more stringent market conditions, Mercator’s operations were successful; it achieved a record income, increased its market shares across the markets it operated in, and ranked 32nd by income among all companies from the ten new member states. This year also saw the opening of the first Hura! discount store, the first discount store of the Mercator Group. Author of photography: Marjan Ciglič, National Museum of Contemporary History

2005

In 2005, two major events in the Slovenian market had a strong and direct impact on Mercator Group operations: changes to the Trade Act regarding Sunday and holiday store opening hours (stores were now to be closed on Sundays and holidays), and the arrival of a foreign discount chain to the Slovenian market, which additionally increased the level of competition. The ownership structure changed considerably during this year, with the Supervisory Board having been replaced and a new Management Board appointed. The management of the Poslovni sistem Mercator, d.d., company was assumed by a 4-member Management Board headed by Mr. Žiga Debeljak. Author of photography: Marjan Ciglič, National Museum of Contemporary History

2006

With a strategic partnership with the Holding Rodič M&B company put in place in Serbia, Mercator became the second largest merchant in the country, reaching a market share of about 8% for the year. Author of photography: Janez Lampič, National Museum of Contemporary History

2007

In the beginning of 2007, the assumption of euro as the national currency was a milestone for Slovenia. Mercator, including its entire retail network, was excellently prepared for the conversion and carried out the transition smoothly. Mercator presented its range of tourist services M Holidays in Slovenia, entered a strategic alliance with the Croatian company Presoflex, and with the company Omega in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Mercator signed an agreement on strategic combination with the Montenegrin company Mex market, d.o.o.; as of January 1st 2008, this company was renamed to Mercator-Mex, d.o.o. Author of photography: Marjan Ciglič, National Museum of Contemporary History

2008

Harsh business conditions made 2008 a very challenging year which saw high inflation in the first half of the year and a global financial crisis in the second half. Despite the exacting environment this was the year of record-breaking investment volume for Mercator Group which now operates a total gross sales area of over one million square meters; part of this area is leased to other service providers. In Serbia, Mercator acquired an additional 12-percent ownership share in the company M-Rodić, in Croatia, the Billa trade chain joined the Mercator-Plodine purchasing association, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, we entered a strategic partnership with the company Omega, d.o.o, and founded the company M-BL, d.o.o., Banja Luka. Consistently with the strategy of entering the Bulgarian market, we have founded the company Mercator-B, e.o.o.d., Sofia, which was in charge of Mercator's expansion to the Bulgarian market. Author of photography: Vlastja Simončič, National Museum of Contemporary History

2009

Mercator has entered year 2009 as the largest FMCG retail chain in the entire region of Southeast Europe. We opened the first hypermarkets in Albania and Bulgaria, at the end of the year, has signed an agreement on strategic alliances with the company Getro in Croatia. The business in the region was still affected by the consequences of economic crises, but because of its stability Mercator carried out all planned investment and is open to new business opportunities for further growth and development. In 2009, Mercator celebrated its 60th anniversary. Customer satisfaction is confirmed by almost 1,4 million Mercator Pika loyalty card users. Mercator also one of the largest retailers of specialized technical program, clothing and sportswear. Author of photography: Vlastja Simončič, National Museum of Contemporary History

2010

Mercator’ activities in 2010 were focused in all markets of our on providing the broadest possible offer for the consumers. This included continuous work on preparing various favorable offers of products and services, emphasizing seasonal and theme-oriented offer and investing our efforts into development of our private label. In the Croatian market, the companies Getro, d.d., and Mercator-H, d.o.o., completed their strategic combination based on the agreement on the acquisition of the trade activities of the Croatian trade company Getro, d.d., signed by the partners involved on December 18th 2009. The strategic combination includes the purchase of the "Getro" brand and long-term operating lease of 16 Getro trade centers and other business facilities with a total area of over 120 thousand square meters. In Montenegro, the companies Pantomarket, d. o. o., and Mercator Group signed on June 30th 2010 an agreement on strategic alliance based on which the company Mercator-CG, d. o. o., Montenegro, took over the trade operations and employees, and the long term operating lease of 77 trade facilities owned by the companies Pantomarket, d. o. o., and Plus Commerce, d. o. o., in the market of Montenegro, with a total gross sales area over 31 thousand square meters. In Serbia, the companies Mercator-S, d. o. o., and Coka, d. o. o., signed on August 4th 2010 a strategic alliance agreement based on which the company Mercator-S, d. o. o., Serbia, is to take over the long-term operating lease and sublease of 22 trade facilities of the Coka Group in the Danube ("Podunavlje") region, with a total sales area of over 12 thousand square meters. The strategic alliance also includes the purchase of inventory and equipment, as well as employing all employees of the companies in the Coka Group. Author of photography: Marjan Ciglič, National Museum of Contemporary History

2011

In 2011, the Mercator Group continued to pursue its planned strategy of growth. On the Serbian market, Mercator strengthened its position as the second largest retailer by acquiring the trade operations of Familija Marketi, while Mercator BH strengthened its position as the third largest retailer in Bosnia and Herzegovina through a strategic combination with Drvopromet. With the acquisition of En Plus, renamed M-Energija, we are planning to develop supplementary trade activities, including the Maxen self-service petrol stations in the parking lots of major shopping centres, first in Slovenia and later in the entire region. This will achieve greater recognition and provide a more comprehensive offer for the end-consumer at a single location. In accordance with its medium-term plan, Mercator also launched the important project of monetizing its real-estate assets. Exploiting the potential of real estate for further growth is very important in order to ensure the successful operation of the Mercator Group. Author of photography: Edi Šelhaus, National Museum of Contemporary History

2012

In 2012, the market situation continued to be strongly affected by the economic crisis. A deep insecurity about economic recovery continues to be present and it remains difficult to obtain funding. Mercator has monitored the changes on the market on a regular basis and attempted to limit all the negative impacts as much as possible. The Management Board adopted a number of measures to achieve greater cost rationalisation and operational effectiveness. Accordingly, the Management Board established the key strategic goals – optimisation, profitability, focus and growth – that were integrated into all areas of our business operation. In accordance with our newly-developed strategy, we focused on our main activity, the sale of fast-moving consumer goods, and carried out the renovation of retail units and improved the mix of products and services as part of the project Refreshment of the FMCG Offer. Through the consistent implementation of the cost and operation rationalisation measures adopted, we achieved savings of EUR 10 million in the second half of the year. We also adapted to the harsh economic conditions by suspending unnecessary investment activities and continuing to acquire new retail areas, particularly by entering into new lease agreements. Due to incomplete answers provided by investors, the monetization project was brought to a halt and the project will resume once the market situation improves. Poslovni sistem Mercator, d.d., increased its share in Vesna, Trgovsko podjetje, d.d., from 45 to 100%, thus acquiring 7 sales units, which have operated as Mercator franchise units thus far. At the end of 2012, Mercator launched activities for exiting the market of Albania due to the unprofitable operation of companies and a focus on improving the operation on key markets. Business units ceased operation on this market as of 31 December 2012. Exit from Bulgaria is also planned for 2013. A considerable change in the Group's organisational structure has also taken place with the change of the Supervisory Board and the appointment of the new Management Board. The management of Poslovni Mercator, d.d., was taken over by a four-member Management Board chaired by Toni Balažič. Author of photography: Marjan Ciglič, National Museum of Contemporary History