ECONOMY

Germanos has big plans for European market

Retail chain Germanos plans to increase its network of Pan-European outlets to 700 by 2003, in line with its goal of becoming the largest Greek chain on the continent, Dimitris Lolis, the general manager, said yesterday. The company, which currently has 434 stores in Greece, Cyprus, Poland and three other Eastern European countries, intends to open 266 more outlets by next year, he said. Germanos made a name for itself as a retailer of batteries and flashlights but in recent years has ventured into mobile phones and their accessories, as well as laptop computers and digital cameras. «We want to reinforce our network to make it the largest Greek retail chain in Europe,» Lolis stressed. The foreign operations currently account for 25-27 percent of group revenues and are projected to rise to 32-35 percent over the next two years. The Germanos general manager said the low mobile phone penetration rate in Eastern Europe and Poland means that those markets have scope for high growth in the coming years. He told Kathimerini English Edition that the overseas branches are expected to show «slightly positive results» for 2001 and improve to «nicely positive results» this year. The company presently has 12 stores in Cyprus, 28 in Bulgaria, 41 in Romania, two in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and 94 in Poland. On the group level, the company aims to increase pretax profits by 15 percent on an annual basis over the next three years. In Greece, Germanos said that 35 percent of new mobile phone subscribers head to one of its branches when signing up with a mobile phone operator. Two out of three Greeks prefer a Germanos outlet for purchases of mobile phone accessories and servicing. Germanos’s overseas expansion thus far has cost it $10 million. It plans to fork out another $15 million to realize its objective of a 700-strong Pan-European network. The company intends to keep down expansion costs by offering franchising licenses for future outlets.