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SOFIA (Bulgaria), November 6 (SeeNews) - Discount chain Lidl Bulgaria, part of Germany's Lidl Stiftung & Co, said its local partners have contributed 24 million levs ($13.6 million/12.3 million euro) of export sales to its turnover in the first seven months of fiscal year 2019 started in March.
Lidl Bulgaria expects that by the end of fiscal year 2019 its sales abroad of products made in Bulgaria will reach the level of the previous fiscal year, CEO Milena Dragijska said during The Future of Retail annual conference held in Sofia on Tuesday.
Last year, Bulgarian companies generated 30 million levs of export sales in the network of Lidl stores across Europe, marking a 100% annual increase.
The discount chain currently exports 112 products of 36 Bulgarian suppliers to 22 European markets, Dragijska said.
Most of the export sales of Bulgarian products over the past two years have been carried out in Lidl's stores in Romania, Germany, Greece, Poland and Serbia. Some of the new markets where Lidl Bulgaria started to offer the products of its local partners are the UK and Serbia, the company said in a separate statement on Wednesday.
The stable growth in export sales has been supported mainly by three local partners of Lidl Bulgaria - bread producer Simid, sweet and salty organic snacks producer Smart Organic and Nuhealth, a producer of whole-grain brown rice snacks.
Simid, with which Lidl has been partnering since it entered the Bulgarian market in 2010, contributes one-fifth of Lidl Bulgaria's exports, the CEO noted.
Lidl Bulgaria's exports of products of Sofia-based Smart Organic are projected to grow by 50% in fiscal year 2019. Smart Organic products under Lidl Bulgaria's Alesto brand are currently present in Germany but due to the constantly expanding international chain of Lidl stores, they are expected to enter 12 more markets in Europe by the end of 2019.
Lidl Bulgaria exported products of Plovdiv-based Nuhealth for 2.55 million levs in the period between March and September, Dragijska added.
Lidl Bulgaria will expand its products portfolio as it is currently in the process of developing new products with the help of its Bulgarian partners, Dragisjka said.
Last month, Lidl Bulgaria launched the construction of its 100th store, where it will open about 20 new jobs, the company told SeeNews earlier this month. The new store, which is expected to be completed by early 2020, will spread on an area of 1,892 sq m, of which 1,100 sq m is shopping area.
Lidl Bulgaria currently operates stores in 47 cities, employing 2,700 people.
(1 euro = 1.95583 levs)