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Number of locations
|1,428 stores (2014)|
|Slovenia, Southeast Europe|
Toni Balažič (President)|
Ante Todorić (Chair, Agrokor)
Cash & carry, convenience store,|
discount store, e-commerce,
|Services||Food, tourism, fuel|
|Revenue||€2.1 billion (2014)|
Number of employees
|Parent||Agrokor (majority owner)|
Mercator (mer-kah-tawr; meaning merchant) is a Slovenian multinational retail corporation owned by the Croatian company Agrokor that is operating in the Central and Southeast Europe. Apart from selling products of renowned national and international companies, Mercator also operates its own brand of various foods, drinks, and household products sold at discount prices. Aside from retail, Mercator also provides travel services for tourists, and payment-automated filling stations in Slovenia.
Mercator was founded in 1949 under the name "Ljubljana Groceries" (Slovene: Živila Ljubljana), and four years later it was given its current name, Mercator. The first director of the firm was Adolf "Adi" Osterc (1918–2014), who served in the Partisans' Gubec Brigade during the Second World War and then carried out political arrests after the war. The company operated only in Slovenia until the 1990s, and later started opening retail stores in other countries in the Balkans, with future plans to spread on markets outside the territories of the former Yugoslavia.
Mercator entered retail markets of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2000, Serbia in 2002, Macedonia in 2005, and Montenegro in 2007. At the end of 2009, Mercator opened stores in Tirana, Albania, and Stara Zagora, Bulgaria. While also planning on opening seven other shopping centers in Bulgaria, Mercator considered exiting the Bulgarian market by 2013. In 2012, Mercator also planned to withdraw from the Albanian market; after which it closed the two stores located in the largest Albanian cities of Tirana and Durrës, in January 2013.
To pay off its debt, Slovenian shareholders agreed to Croatian Agrokor acquiring a 53.1% stake in Mercator in late June 2014, and additional 27.6% of the company shares in early September, 2014; leading to vast closure of Mercator stores in Croatia and Bosnia, and acquirement of nearly an equal amount of additional stores in Serbia. Due to the absence of a final decision from the Bosnian Competition Council, Konzum only in BiH was not obliged to sell or rent any of the retail stores inherited by merging with Mercator BiH (Mercator shopping centers and DP markets). Konzum is, in some parts of the country, gained almost a monopoly position.
After the outbreak of the Agrokor debt crisis in 2017 and the subsequent corporate restructuring, 83 Konzum stores in Bosnia were rebranded as Mercator stores, while the other 173 stores the company owns continue to operate under the name Konzum. However, because of big Konzum's debts, Mercator returned to Bosnia and Herzegovina in September 2017. It took over 83 out of Konzum's 258 stores. After that, Konzum lost its title of biggest supermarket chain in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Mercator opened the first store in Pula, in 2000; following with establishment of over 40 hypermarkets and supermarkets, and many more convenience stores in Croatia. Following Agrokor's acquisition of Mercator, most stores were leased out to Konzum or closed down in late 2014.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Mercator opened the first store in Sarajevo, in 2000, and later several additional hypermarkets, supermarkets, and convenience stores in Bosnia and Herzegovina. All Mercator BH stores were transferred to Konzum in late 2014. However all 83 Mercator BH stores were retransferred from Konzum to Mercator during September 2017.
The first Mercator store was opened in Belgrade, in 2002. Today, the company has stores in many Serbian cities, including Belgrade and Novi Sad. An upscale supermarket in the basement of the Beograđanka skyscraper was originally branded Mercator Premium, but it was rebranded to Idea after Agrokor's acquisition of Mercator. Some of the chain's other stores in Serbia are named Roda.
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