The decline in the number of hypermarket chains is not only the result of strong competition in the sector, but also the impact of the growing strength of the discounts that have dominated the food shopping market over the past decade. Today Poles shop more in Biedronka or Lidl than in hypermarkets.
Currently, the number of remaining hypermarket chains in Poland is less than the number of farewell chains with Poland. Here are seven networks that have disappeared from our country.
In 1993, the first foreign hypermarket chain entered Poland. It was a German HIT. Its stores differed from other hypermarkets in their design. They were narrower, but longer in depth, with three rows of shelves. Cash registers were lined up in two separate rows. Its owner – the German company Dohle – built 13 stores in major cities (including Warsaw, Krakow, Poznan, Wroclaw, Bytom) – the first opened in 1993 in the capital. However, the network decided to leave our country. The hypermarkets (15 in total, two of which were under construction) were sold to the British company Tesco, which significantly improved its position in the Polish market.
Picture Facebook / Piątkowo Our childhood
The fact that Biedronka owner Jeronimo Martins Polska also owned hypermarkets in the past may come as a surprise to many. These were Jumbo stores in Poznań, Łódź and Bydgoszcz. In 2002. five stores were sold to Koninklijke Ahold NV, owner of Albert and Hypernova chains. The reason for this decision was the desire of the Portuguese to draw attention to Biedronka. From today’s point of view, the decision seems very correct, because Today Biedronka is the leader in food trade in Poland and the largest network of discounts, More than 3.1 thousand. stores. Jumbo stores changed their name to Hypernova and are now Carrefour hypermarkets.
image: Wikimedia Commons / pistorius
The Hypernova chain started with Allkauf stores – two such stores were established in the 1990s in Krakow and Tychy. They belonged to the Dutch companies Ahold and German Allkauf. In 1998, the Dutch took full control of the company and changed its name to Hypernova. Later, more hypermarkets were established, and the network eventually grew to 27 stores. Ahold also bought five Jumbo hypermarkets. However, the company got into trouble and started selling stores. In 2003, the first two hypermarkets were sold to Carrefour, and two years later, 13 more hypermarkets were sold, and one went to Real. Some stores were closed, and in 2007 the remaining 15 hypermarkets were taken over by a French company. This was the end of the Hypernova brand in Poland. Today, all its former stores operate under the Carrefour brand.
image: Wikimedia Commons / hubar
Apart from Germany, France is one of the main countries where hypermarkets are established. To date, French networks such as Auchan, Carrefour and E.leclerc operate in our country. Previously, Vistula also had a Geant network owned by Casino Group. He opened shops in the largest cities of Poland, usually in the shopping centers that accompanied them. Along with branded products, Leader Price offered its own branded products – they were also sold by supermarket chains under this name. Financial problems forced the French to leave Poland. In 2006, the company sold 19 hypermarkets and new stores to the owner of Real hypermarkets. On the other hand, Leader Price supermarkets were seized by Tesco.
photo: Facebook / Głogów in the past and today
Not all hypermarket chains built giant stores. The Minimal chain of Euro-Billa, an Austrian company that also owns the Billa supermarket chain, has chosen smaller, more compact stores. Its first store was opened in 1996 in Konin. The network has reached 25 points of sale. In 2006, it was decided to operate under the reactivated Billa brand. However, this did not last long, because three years later the stores were bought by the French hypermarket chain E.leclerc, and they still operate under this name.
photo: Shutterstock / filmbildfabrik
The first hypermarket of the German Real chain was opened in 1997 in Szczecin, Poland. Then the chain opened more stores, some of which appeared in M1 shopping malls owned by Metro AG, such as Real. They sold, including privately labeled products TIP (Cheap and Definite). In 2016, Real Geant took over the hypermarket chain, but sold it six years later. For financial reasons, Metro AG decided to sell its assets. In 2012, Real’s Polish stores were acquired by the French company Auchan. The French have been waiting for the approval of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection for a long time, so the operation was completed only in 2014. Over the years, the new owner has significantly expanded its network by rebranding stores. According to the decision of the Antimonopoly Office, some Real hypermarkets had to be sold to another buyer, which turned them into a store under the brand Bi1. In fact, the Bi1 network is connected to Auchan.
The owner of Tesco did not start investing in Poland by seizing the Tesco chain. In 1995, the British bought three local supermarket chains for about 54 million PLN: Minor, Madex and Savia. The first Tesco hypermarket opened three years later in Bielany, near Wroclaw. The chain built larger stores and in 2002 seized HIT stores. Five years later, Tesco took over most of the Leader Price supermarkets.
Tesco became a giant player in Poland, but faced a problem. Sales in stores stopped growing due to changes in the policy of insulting discount stores and buying assortments. Tesco began to close malicious stores. In 2021, the Polish Tesco business was acquired by the Danish owner of the Net discount network. The vast majority of stores changed their name to Netto, but this did not apply to the largest hypermarkets. These were acquired by competitors (Carrefour, Kaufland), construction chains (Leroy Merlin, Castorama), and the area of the remaining hypermarkets was set aside for other purposes. The last stores with the Tesco logo closed on October 27, 2021.