Romanian hypermarket chain La Cocos expands in market dominated by foreign players

Romanian hypermarket chain La Cocos expands in market dominated by foreign players
Products on sale at La Cocos' hypermarket in Bucharest. / La Cocos via Facebook
By Iulian Ernst in Bucharest March 6, 2024

Romanian hypermarket chain La Cocos has announced the opening of its fourth store, in the central Romanian city of Brasov. The Brasov La Cocos store is the first unit officially announced as part of La Cocos' expansion plan, which includes the opening of five more units in 2024 and 2025.

Romania’s retail market is dominated by foreign players, primarily Lidl and Kaufland. La Cocos’ turnover reached RON1bn (€200mn) last year, behind the RON1.5bn reported by the tenth-largest foreign player — Cora, taken over by Carrefour in 2023 — the previous year. 

Before opening the store in Brasov, La Cocos was operating three hypermarkets – two in Ploiesti and one in Bucharest.

The new store, opened with an investment facilitated by the real estate consultancy firm Cushman Wakefield, will have an area of approximately 10,000 sqm, and is located in the Brintex-Brașov retail complex, in the densely-populated Bartolomeu neighbourhood.

La Cocos reported €144mn in revenues in 2022 and €111mn in revenues in 2021. The company has constantly recorded profits since 2014, its first year of operations.

La Cocos is a new concept in the Romanian market, a retail format which offers three price levels to its customers, depending on the quantity purchased. These stores operate in large urban areas, providing approximately 12,000 of the best-known and best-selling products in the country.

The expansion plan began in November 2020 with a move to Bucharest, where the second store opened in the Vitantis Shopping Center, with an area of approximately 11,400 sq. m. The third unit was inaugurated in November 2023, also in Ploiesti, with a sales area of around 13,000 sq. m, being the largest store operated by an independent retail food chain in Romania.

The largest retail chains by turnover, as of 2022, were the local operations of German retailers Lidl (RON18.5bn) and Kaufland (RON16.0bn). 

Third placed was Romanian Profi, which also had the most extensive retail chain in the country in terms of outlets. In 2023, Profi was taken over by global food retailer Ahold Delhaize, which already operates the Mega Image brand in Romania, from private equity investor MidEuropa. The €1.3bn deal was the largest exit by a private equity fund in the food segment in Central and Eastern Europe.