German discount retailers seek to open 1,000 stores in Poland off of consumers’ response to high inflation

By Grzegorz Adamczyk
2 Min Read

German retail chains Woolworth Deutschland and Aldi Nord are expanding rapidly in Poland, with a goal of opening 1,000 stores in the coming years.

Woolworth Deutschland plans to open its first three Polish stores in May, a company’s spokeswoman recently announced, while Aldi Nord withdrew from the Danish market last year to focus on the “main markets of development in Europe: Belgium, Poland and France,” revealed Finn Tang, Aldi’s CEO in Denmark, last December.

According to Christopher Fuß, an expert at German Trade and Invest (GTAI), high inflation in Poland, which reached 14.7 percent in April, has led to a shift in behavior, with consumers now favoring discount retailers. Additionally, tough competition has resulted in decreased net margins for the Polish retail sector in 2022.

German retailers are integrating Polish suppliers and brands into their stock, with Woolworth Deutschland buying nearly 500 products from 25 Polish suppliers, benefiting both Polish producers and German retail chains.

Commenting on Aldi’s withdrawal from the Danish market, Henning Bahr, the CEO of Retail Institute Scandinavia, highlighted that German discount retail chains in most cases expand broadly across various sectors rather than individually. As a result, Danish consumers can still buy cheaper German groceries at Lidl, which has nearly 140 stores in Denmark and plans to open another 60 this year.

Similarly, on the Polish market, German retail chains such as Lidl, Aldi and KiK are already active, offering a range of products and pricing policies similar to those of Woolworths Deutschland. The expansion into the Polish market concerns entire trade sectors, including discount retail.

Woolworth Deutschland recognizes the challenges in the Polish labor market, with a shortage of experienced employees in retail and administrative departments, as well as IT and accounting specialists. As a new retail chain in Poland, Woolworth is a relatively unknown employer, with some potential employees showing skepticism.

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