The EBRD is boosting competition in the Georgian retail sector with a loan to Smart Supermarkets, one of the most recent retailers in the country, to expand its network.
The facility will enable the company to finance the construction of a distribution centre as well as up to 28 new supermarkets and convenience stores throughout Georgia.
The project will have an additional energy efficiency component, where part of the facility will be used to invest in advanced sustainable energy technologies leading to better energy performance. Technical cooperation support for this operation has been provided by the Regional Corporate Energy Efficiency Programme funded by the EU NIF and the ETC fund.
Despite the presence of several players, the retail segment in Georgia remains fragmented. The EBRD views retail commerce as vital to the development of a successful market economy benefiting the consumers from a better price/quality mix, a lower cost of the food basket through increased efficiencies in purchasing, logistics, technology and distribution. With the EBRD’s financing, the Smart Supermarket chain will build modern retail outlets in residential areas across Tbilisi and the regions of Georgia, bringing quality products to a wider selection of the population, offering a more varied mix of goods, both local and imported, at competitive prices and, at the same time, supporting the development of local agricultural producers.
Smart Retail, owned by Samson and Levan Pkhakadze, is a local Georgian company with three supermarkets and seven convenient stores located both in Tbilisi and the regions.
“We are pleased to support this new player in the Georgian retail sector, which is committed to providing consumers in smaller cities with an improved choice of competitively-priced products and better quality services. The expansion in business will also boost demand from local suppliers and support the country’s economic development, through fostering competition and increasing employment,” said Gilles Mettetal, EBRD Director for the Agribusiness team.
Agriculture is one of the key sectors of the Georgian economy. The EBRD remains a committed partner in Georgia. Since the beginning of its operations in Georgia, the EBRD has invested approximately €1.72 billion in over 157 projects, of which €105 million has been in the country’s agribusiness sector.