Croatia’s infamous VAT is throwing prices around much more than one might expect at first when shopping in Lidl or Spar. Just how does your weekly shop in Croatia compare to a weekly shop in neighbouring Slovenia?
As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 5th of March, 2019, when taking a walk through six Slovenian and Croatian shops, it didn’t take long to realise that retailers are struggling with their own branded goods, which are already sold at relatively low prices, and they could actually save well on them.
The popular Italian retail chain Eurospin, known for its discount prices, hasn’t yet opened its doors in Croatia, but it can be revealed that the retail companty is indeed looking for locations for its stores across the country. It also has its own website in Croatian language on which the following has been published: “Still a little more patience … We’re coming.”
A group of 24sata journalists from Croatia visited their store in Laško in neighbouring Slovenia to check if their prices really are lower than their competitors, and what prices were in comparison to the Croatian market.
They selected a basket of fourteen different products and compared then – Eurospin was cheaper than the first competitor in Slovenia by just a few lipa.
They also compared the prices in Slovenian stores with those in Croatia – some shopping baskets are very much the same, and the difference between the cheapest Slovenian product and the most expensive Croatian one is 22 kuna. However, it should be borne in mind that Slovenians have two tax rates applied when it comes to retail – 22 and 9.5 percent, and they also have a lower VAT rate (surprise, surprise) than is applied in Croatia, of 25 and 13 percent.
Eurospin appears very similar to the already popular Lidl.
When comparing the cheapest Slovenian and cheapest Croatian basket, the difference is 10.82 kuna. There were, as stated, forteen different products in the basket. When looking around on February the 25th of this year, the group of Croatian journalists visited the popular Slovenian shops including Eurospin, Lidl, Spar, and Mercator, the majority owner of which is Croatia’s formerly ailing Agrokor.
They tried to find the cheapest products (flour, oil, butter…). When comparing detergents and softeners, they looked for products that were cheaper per litre, regardless of the size of the packaging, ie, whether the product volume is one, two, four litres…
Their cart showed that Eurospin was actually slightly more expensive than Croatia’s beloved Lidl, at least on that day – by 2.30 kuna, Spar was cheaper by 3.60 kuna, and Mercator was cheaper by a not so insignificant 21.53 kuna.
Eurospin and Lidl have been shown to have relatively similar prices, and according to their trade concept, each reminds one of the other. Spar, which had the biggest store in Laško, had similar and sometimes identical prices as those in Eurospin. Only Mercator was considerably more expensive than the others, but their overall offer, just like at Spar, was much richer than that of Lidl and Eurospin.
The Italian discount store, just like Lidl, often only offers its own brands on it shelves, or products made by only one manufacturer – for example, only one type of oil, one type of sugar, one type of flour, etc.
The 24sata journalists compared the products purchased over in Slovenia to those in Lidl and Spar in Zagreb the following day, once again searching for the cheapest of all.
The most expensive shopping basket in Zagreb was from Lidl and it was 13.67 kuna more expensive than Eurospin in Slovenia. Let’s remember, it should be taken into account that VAT in Croatia is higher certainly has a big influence over Croatian prices. The cheapest basket was from Spar in Zagreb, but when compared to Eurospin in Slovenia, it was still more expensive – by 8.52 kuna.
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