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Concentration continues on retail market

The number of retail units in Hungary rose 0.4% to 166,458 in the twelve months to March 31, but the number of companies running these units fell 100 to 111,894, showing the market's increasing concentration, according to data from the Central Statistics Office (KSH).

KSH said the network of retail units showed signs of saturation and increasing concentration in the first quarter of the year. A total of 6,400 new shops opened in the first three months of 2006 and 6,700 shops closed. New shops were opened only in Central Hungary and the southern part of the Great Plain. The biggest decline in the number of shops was registered in the northern part of the Great Plain and southwest Hungary.
The weight of Central Hungary increased further in the first quarter. The region accounts for 29.4% of all shops in Hungary, with Budapest, which is part of the region, accounting for 19.5%. All other regions in Hungary account for 10%-15% of total shops.
The decline seen in the number of FMCG shops over the past several years continued in Q1 2006 due to further concentration among supermarkets. In the first quarter, the number of supermarkets fell 408 and their percentage within all retail units fell to 29%. At the same time, the number of non-food retail units increased slightly. The biggest increase, 188 units, was registered for shops selling consumer goods, while the number of textile, clothing and footwear shops fell 201.
The number of businesses operating retail units decreased by more than 100 in the first quarter, a sign of the market's concentration. One company now manages an average 1.49 shops. The number of shops operated by self-employed individuals fell by more than 500 in the first quarter and by 1,800 in 12 months, while the number of shops operated by companies increased 2,500.