Discounters stagnate after boom years

Discount supermarkets in Austria are struggling to increase their market share, it has been reported.Austrian agricultural branch authority Agrarmarkt Austria (AMA) announced today (Weds) Hofer and Lidl had an overall market share of around 20 per cent. AMA explained the chains – the two leading low-price foodstuff retailers in the country – grew strongly between 2003 and 2007 before their performance stagnated.”It seems discount supermarkets have reached their zenith,” AMA said.Rewe International – the Austrian-based affiliated company of the German Rewe Group – is the number one on the domestic market ahead of Spar Austria and Hofer. Rewe manages Billa, Adeg and Merkur shops. Hofer belongs to German discount supermarket giant Aldi.AMA also found that the value and number of products offered at a special price is increasing. The share of bargain offers in the overall product portfolio of Austria’s leading supermarket companies ranges between 22 per cent and 28 per cent, according to the authority.AMA added organic foodstuff worth 306.4 million Euros went over the counter last year, up by 19 per cent to 2009.It has to be seen if and how Austrians’ shopping habits will be influenced by current price developments. Statistik Austria recently announced that inflation in the country rose by 2.4 per cent in January compared to the same month in 2010. The agency said this was the most significant price increase in around two and a half years. Especially the price of fruit and vegetables increased dramatically in the past few months.Business research group RegioData announced it did not expect Austrians’ spending power to decline despite higher and new taxes. RegioData said people’s purchasing power will jump by 2.6 per cent this year compared to 2010. Austrians will have an average 450 Euros more of disposable income to spend this year, according to the research firm.