Unlike neighboring Serbia, the trade and retail market in Montenegro is not so dynamic. Therefore, when we look back at the investments in this area during the past year, we will notice that the list is not long. However, it is valuable.
Thus, the year behind us was marked by the information that, with the purchase of TC Delta City in Podgorica, the famous Israeli company BIG Shopping Centers entered the Montenegrin market. Also, it has become certain that the German Lidl is finally arriving in Montenegro. It has been confirmed that it will arrive, but when – we don’t know.
Shopping centers have long been no longer just a place of shopping, but facilities that provide us with a complete experience. This was best demonstrated during the coronavirus pandemic, when one of the first measures was to close them. However, when the restrictive measures were lifted, we all, despite the fear of infection, first rushed to the shopping centers. Today, few people talk about the pandemic, we are occupied with news about war, political instability, economic and energy crisis. Inflation, which is growing month after month, has swallowed up the increase in wages, and there is every chance that this year will not be much better for us either. It seems that we will go to the store only for the basics, while we will only look at the windows.
But let’s get back to investments.
As we mentioned, the retail market here may not be so dynamic, but there were investments during 2022. New players arrived on the market, announced new experiences for customers, business expansion and new jobs.
Namely, the company BIG Shopping Centers, which has been successfully operating in Serbia and the region for years, entered the Montenegrin market by purchasing the Delta City shopping center, one of the largest commercial facilities in the Balkans, and certainly the largest and most famous in Montenegro. The company invested EUR 95 million in this acquisition.
After the purchase of this shopping mall, the company expressed interest in the development of projects in Bar, Kotor and Nikšić, Prime Minister Dritan Abazović announced in May. As he said, the plan is to create 1,000 jobs in the next three years.
Already in July, the chairman of the board of directors of BIG Shopping Centers Eitan Bar Zeev announced that they plan to open four retail parks, which would enable them to employ 2,000 people.
At the official takeover of the Delta City shopping center in Podgorica and its renaming to BIG Fashion last September, we could hear that this is the largest Israeli investment in Montenegro, which will continue to grow. It was then announced that the company invested over 150 million EUR in the purchase of real estate in Montenegro for a period of six months, and that, in addition to Delta, it also became the owner of the shopping centers City Mall and Capital Plaza.
Everyone talked about the entry of the Lidl retail chain on the Montenegrin market during the past two years – representatives of the central government and municipalities, the media… Only the company remained secretive.
– Lidl constantly investigates the possibility of expansion and analyzes the conditions of entry and the potential of customers in new markets. At the moment, we cannot comment on potential target countries, store locations or opening dates – Lidl told our portal at the beginning of last year.
Very soon after that, information arrived that Lidl bought land in Podgorica’s City Quarter for EUR 3.7 million. Also, the then Minister of Economic Development, Jakov Milatović, said in February that they met with representatives of the German company, and that Lidl announced the opening of 20 facilities throughout Montenegro, the employment of around 1,000 people, and the opening of a logistics center in Podgorica.
The Investment Agency of Montenegro said that the opening of the first markets is planned for this year, 2023, that they will be represented in all major cities, and that in some there will be more facilities. In the meantime, MMS Property Solutions, which has since been renamed Lidl Montenegro, bought another plot in Podgorica for more than EUR 10 million.
Prime Minister Dritan Abazović also met with representatives of Lidl, however, even then we did not manage to find out more specific plans of the company for the Montenegrin market. However, German Ambassador Peter Felten confirmed that they are definitely coming to Montenegro.
– I know that Lidl is very durable and I found out that they intend to come, Lidl is coming to Montenegro – said Felten at the end of November last year.
Last year we also announced the opening of the Rondo shopping center in Ulcinj. The investment is realized by the Ribnica commerce company, and will cover more than 2,000 m2. The investment is realized by the Ribnica commerce company, and will cover more than 2,000 m2.
According to the investors, this is the first shopping center that also has hotel facilities, so the ground floor and the first floor are intended for shopping, while the remaining floors have been converted into an apart hotel that bears the same name as the shopping center – Rondo.