Downtown Grocery Shopping Transformed In Budapest

  • 4 Mar 2013 8:00 AM
Downtown Grocery Shopping Transformed In Budapest
Suddenly shiny Spar, Lidl, and Aldi stores have appeared in formerly unused street front retail space in classical old buildings in busy inner city locations in Budapest. Traditionally these chains choose locations in the suburbs or just outside town with adequate space in new facilities and large parking lots. Why this compromise in shelf space and business plan? Why now?

It is because of the "Plaza Stop," a controversial government decree that prohibits the building of commercial buildings over the size of 300 m2 starting January 1, 2012 until the end of 2014. Apparently the rapid spread of shopping centers, supermarkets, discount stores threatened local business owners and small town shops.

Instead of acquisition of competitor chains or entering the few new shopping centers exempt from the Plaza Stop, the remaining option for those wishing to expand was adapting the interior to existing buildings. Some view this as a boomerang effect, for thus the international chains usurp the market from the inner-city small shops, who felt safe until now.

By Andras Patkai, Entrepreneur, Founder and CEO of CE Invest Group, and expert blogger on real estate and property issues in Budapest and Bratislava.

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