How did the coronavirus pandemic impact Kaufland’s operations in Romania?
The pandemic has shown us all that we have a fantastic adapting capacity and we can successfully adjust to any and that we can meet the needs of customers no matter the context.
In 2020, we booked 12.92 billion lei turnover. Through its activity, Kaufland had a total gross value added contribution of 1.9 billion euro to the economy, the equivalent of about 0.9% of the total gross domestic product of the country.
The pandemic did not stop our investments or key projects, just the reverse. We made total investments of over 300 million euro, we continued to support and develop partnerships with local producers and in 2020 alone we have worked with over 2,400 suppliers in Romania. More than 8 million euro were allocated last year to community projects, which benefited 2.8 million Romanians. Kaufland was the first retailer on the market to certify its premises with the DEKRA international standard, which certifies that they comply with all measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Since the onset of the pandemic, we have invested over 20 million lei in the implementation of protection and prevention measures at our premises – shops, warehouses, offices – with the greatest responsibility.
What are the main investments you are planning in Romania in the medium term?
Sustainability is in Kaufland’s DNA, differentiating us and providing us with the most efficient path to a circular economy. We recycle, preserve, reuse, advocate for responsible, anti-waste consumption, we invest in causes of impact for society, in environment, culture, education and healthy lifestyle. We take care of resources and implement the most efficient renewable energy sources. We announced in June an investment of 1.5 million euro to equip three stores and one of the two logistics centers with over 3,700 photovoltaic panels, which will generate green energy and help reduce the impact on the environment, scrapping over 10,000 tonnes of CO2 annually. We aim to develop at least nine photovoltaic panel annually until 2025.
Another major step we have taken this year was to become the first retailer with a nationwide recycling machines infrastructure. From January until now, over 1 million customers used the infrastructure provided by Kaufland Romania, recycling over 5.7 million packages. In order to support a responsible behaviour towards the environment, we created the first national network of separate packaging collection machines, which is now available in all cities where we are present. Customers who use them are rewarded on the spot with shopping discounts.
What is your network expansion strategy for the rest of the year?
Our plan for 2021 entails a sustained pace of expansion and to this end, we manage the largest investment budget in the last 16 years, of more than 375 million euro. We aim to open, by the end of the year, at least ten stores. The dynamics of the market showed us that there is enough room for growth in small and medium-sized urban areas and we are moving towards localities with about 20,000 inhabitants. Ten new stores means that we will create about 1,000 new jobs in 2021. With each new store opened, we create between 70 and 100 new jobs, which support the development
of the local economy.
What are your strategic goals in the e-commerce segment?
The digital transformation we have all been exposed to in recent years is obvious. Although the know-how exists, the pandemic context has shown us that we also have the capacity and resources to quickly integrate processes. We are currently collaborating with the main local marketplaces and we will continue to streamline the online purchasing process.