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INTERVIEW - Bulgaria's Ozone Entertainment to expand to Croatia, Greece by Q1 2022

INTERVIEW - Bulgaria's Ozone Entertainment to expand to Croatia, Greece by Q1 2022 Photo: Emil Wagenstein, Chief Marketing Officer of Ozone.bg/ All rights reserved.

SOFIA (Bulgaria), October 18 (SeeNews) - Bulgarian consumer goods retailer Ozone Entertainment will expand to the markets of Croatia and Greece by the beginning of the first quarter of 2022, Emil Wagenstein, chief marketing officer (CMO) of the company told SeeNews.

Ozone will also expand to five more markets by the end of 2022, including an English-language Europe wide domain, Wagenstein told SeeNews in an interview, without elaborating further.

The company launched a Romanian-language website in April 2020, offering its core product groups such as gaming, audio and toys.

"We are scaling up that project at the moment, and we expect that we’ll finish the year with 3 million euro ($3.5 million) in gross merchandise volume (GMV)," Wagenstein said.

At the end of last year, the retailer opened a logistics base in the town of Elin Pelin, Sofia Region, and acquired the baby care products website Baby.bg.

According to Wagenstein, the additional capacity is allowing the company to shorten the supply chain and keep more items in stock. "Together with the always ongoing process and system optimisations, and the expansion of our in-house courier service, we have a much shorter delivery window to end-clients," he explained.

Regarding the most recent acquisition, adding the baby and mother care vertical to Ozone.bg and the addition of Baby.bg to the group's portfolio is fueling a very decent growth in this product category - about 45% year on year for Baby.bg.

Overall, the year-to-date GMV growth for the group is at 63% and the online unit, comprising Ozone, Baby.bg and PCStore, is at 67%, Wagenstein said.

The group expects to generate 45 million euro in GMV in 2021, which would represent a 70% increase on an annual comparison basis.

"All our segments continue growing exponentially while still having a lot of supply issues," Wagenstein noted.

The supply chain issues are found mainly in the consumer electronics and toys segments, stifling the company's growth. "We expect those to continue well into 2022," Wagenstein opined.

Covid-19 lockdowns pushed a lot of sales online and Ozone was in prime position to fill those via its e-stores. "Alongside our brick-and-mortar retail arm Pulsar Games is doing a lot better this year and is almost back at its 2019 levels," Wagenstein said.

In 2019, the group acquired local company Pulsar - a retailer of electronic devices and computer games. There are ten Pulsar stores in the country currently - seven in Sofia and one each in the cities of Plovdiv, Varna, and Burgas.

Wagenstein also said that Ozone has recently finished a capacity expansion project that added 1,600 sq m of small-item storage space. The company is also planning to start building an expansion to its current logistics centre in Elin Pelin next year that will increase the storage space by a further 7,500 sq m.

"We are always looking to add new verticals that make sense for our business - either organically or through acquisitions. We have several projects in the pipeline but nothing to share at this moment," Wagenstein said.

($ = 0.864990 euro)

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