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Polish retailers seek profits closer to home as coronavirus bites

By Anna Koper and Michael Kahn

WARSAW/PRAGUE (Reuters) – Poland’s big clothing and footwear retailers LPP <LPPP.WA> and CCC <CCCP.WA> are switching focus back to eastern Europe, sizing opportunities to add brick-and-mortar stores as international rivals concentrate on online sales during the pandemic.

LPP – eastern Europe’s answer to H&M <HMb.ST> and Inditex’s <ITX.MC> Zara – has expressed ambitions to emulate its two rivals as a top five global fashion brand.

Those plans have stalled as the pandemic has hit consumer spending, but with eastern Europe weathering the crisis better than Western economies, the retailer sees better prospects in its home region.

“Our approach to expansion has changed due to the epidemic,” LPP’s Deputy Chief Executive Przemyslaw Lutkiewicz told Reuters. “We hope that from the next year we will return to the expansion of new stores, but mainly in the eastern markets.”

LPP’s push comes as some big Western brands

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