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E.Leclerc opening supermarket in Maribor

E.Leclerc, a leading European retailer, will open its second outlet in Slovenia in Maribor on 7 November in an investment worth €26 million ($34.9 million).

The shopping centre will create 200 new jobs and is expected to attract two million shoppers and turn over €50 million ($67.2 million) a year, its owner, Alain Gomez, told reporters in Maribor. The centre will spread over an indoor area of nearly 20,000 square meters, the supermarket covering a quarter of this, while the remaining area will accommodate 31 shops. The car park will have the capacity for 1,000 vehicles. According to Gomez, the supermarket will offer 70,000 goods, one fifth of them French-made, while all major Slovenian brand names will also be available. Shoppers are expected to come from as far as Croatia, Austria and Hungary.

By 2009 at the latest, E.Lecrerc also intends to build in a service station in Slovenia's second largest city, while it plans to open one in Ljubljana this September. E.Leclerc Slovenia chairman Jean-Francois Higonet said that the shopping centre in Ljubljana, which opened eight years ago, generated €72.054 million in sales in 2006. According to Higonet, the French retailer has a 1.7% market share in Slovenia. „By opening the Maribor store we want to exceed the level of 2%, while we plan a 5% market share for the future.”

Higonet explained that the E.Leclerc group numbered 574 shopping centers, 67 of them outside France. The centers in France generated more than €29 billion ($39 billion) in sales last year, followed by those in Poland €389 million ($522.7 million). (