Eroski To Resume Expansion And Open 100 Supermarkets Per Year

20 February 2015 – Deia

The supermarket chain will invest €400 million over 4 years.

The retail distribution group Eroski (….) is planning to open one hundred new supermarkets per year – primarily in the north of the Iberian Peninsular – over the next four years. During this period, the Basque group, chaired by Agustín Markaide, expects to invest around €400 million, according to the strategic plan presented by the cooperative group to its shareholders yesterday in an extraordinary shareholders meeting held at the BEC in Barakaldo.

The Chairman of Eroski presented the proposed updates to the Strategic Plan 2013-2016 to the 500 shareholders present, once the definitive agreement for the refinancing of its bank debt has been agreed and stated that “it is time to look to the future, to progress more quickly with the expansion of our new ‘Contigo’ or ‘With you’ campaign and to recover investments to strengthen our most strategic businesses to create a new, more profitable Eroski”.

This more competitive Eroski has focused on its traditional markets in Euskadi, Galicia, Cataluña and the Balearic Islands, as well as in its respective hinterlands. It has also promoted the formula of franchised stores to recover market share lost as a result of the divestments that it has been forced to undertake in Spain to finance its debt payments.

One of Eroski’s key commitments in this new phase is that of extending its ‘Contigo’ commercial model to more than 200 stores under the second part of its Strategic Plan 2013-2016, by opening and refurbishing premises. According to Eroski executives, the reason for this approach is the success that has been obtained through the ‘Contigo’ campaign in all of the locations in which it has been implemented. It currently operates in 66 stores and its results show “a very positive response from consumers, with a 9% increase in sales in supermarkets and a 6% increase in the fully refurbished hypermarkets”. This improvement in sales has exceeded double digits in the case of fresh produce.

In terms of the (more than) one hundred stores per year that Eroski is planning to open over the next few years, a mix of owned stores and franchises is envisaged. The franchise formula will be used in the markets in Andalucía, Extremadura, Madrid and Levante, regions where the group, which has its headquarters in Elorrio, will open shops with a surface area of between 300 m2 and 500 m2.

Another one of its key commitment involves energy saving. The Basque group plans to open the first energetically self-sufficient supermarket in Europe, measuring 2,000 square metres in Gasteiz in 2016, which will be powered using renewable energy sources.


Original story: Deia (by Xabier Aja)

Translation: Carmel Drake

The AEB Thinks That The Mortgage War Is “Very Positive”

6 January 2015 – Expansión

AEB/ The Chairman of the bankers’ assocation says that the current battle for mortgages indicates that the financial sector is still competitive, despite the concentration of entities.

The on-going battle between banking institutions to offer new mortgages is a clear sign that the system is performing well following the restructuring of the last few years, according to the Spanish Banking Association (Asociación Española de Banca o AEB). Its Chairman, José María Roldán, said yesterday that it demonstates “that we have a competitive financial system. We are seeing a very strong degree of competition, to the extent that opportunities and confidence have allowed, and I believe that this is very encouraging. The most important thing is that the choice of loan is appropriate in terms of risk. All of this indicates that, despite the process of concentration that has taken place, healthy competition is still very much alive”.


Roldán was speaking at the Conference on the Spanish banking sector, organised by the Valencian Institute of Economic Research (el Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas or IVIE). In his speech, he said that the most important thing right now is that demand for credit in Spain is returning. “Excessive leveraging has been corrected, in some cases loans have been written off and in other cases they have been refinanced, and so we now have sectors with less debt, which the uncertainties would not allow to commit to any investment projects”, he explained.

Now “we are in a situation in which the banks are fully prepared to finance the process of economy recovery, financing rates are very low and demand for credit is beginning to return. At present, there is strong competition between banks to grant loans. Although that does not mean that everyone asking for a loan will be granted one”.


Nevertheless, he considers that it is “difficult to predict when bank credit (on an aggregate basis) will begin to grow, since it depends on two processes. One, in which economic agents with good financial standing are able to demand and obtain credit, and the other, whereby the agents that are still heavily indebted are continuing to service their debts”.

But he reiterated that “that is not the most important thing. What is important is that demand for credit is increasing and that financial institutions are prepared to meet it”.

Original story: Expansión (by J. Brines)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Bami Files For Liquidation

22 January 2015 – Expansión

Bami, the real estate company controlled by Joaquin Rivero, which filed for bankruptcy in 2013, has gone into liquidation, under an order issued by Commercial Court No. 2 of Madrid, after it was unable to reach an agreement with its lender banks to refinance its debt.

Original story: Expansión

Translation: Carmel Drake