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GAIN Report - TS5010

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Section I

Market Summary

In Tunisia, the retail sector (food and non-food) is boasting an annual growth rate of 6 percent outpacing GDP growth rate. This performance is largely fuelled by the expansion of modern distribution (supermarket and hypermarkets formats) at the expense of the traditional food retail carried out in small grocery shops. Modern distribution commands nearly 10 percent of total retail sales. Fresh fruit and vegetables as well as fishery products are sold either in souks (open markets) or in specialized small shops.

According to the latest INS1 household consumption survey, Tunisian households devote about 38 percent of their total spending to purchase food items. This translates to an estimated total food spending at the retail level of nearly 7 billion Tunisian Dinars (equivalent to 5 billion USD).

Although the market share captured by modern retailing is still relatively low, its expansion is set to continue at a steady pace as major retail players are posting double-digit revenue growth. French retailers (Carrefour and Casino) constitute the only foreign presence so far. More foreign retailers are expected to enter the market in the medium run enticed by a sector poised to expand more aggressively over the next decade displacing traditional grocery shops and capturing an estimated 30 percent of the overall food retail market.

A higher disposable income due, in part, to an increasing number of households with dual income, increased urbanization and increased exposure to western lifestyles are all factors underpinning this ongoing reshape of the Tunisian food retail landscape.

Currently, the country has only about 210 modern food retail outlets: 2 hypermarkets, 120 supermarkets and 100 superettes, self-service food outlets with a selling area of less than 500 sq meters.

The major players in modern food retailing are: Group UTIC (Carrefour hypermarket and Champion supermarket fascias licensed by the French retailer Carrefour), Group Mabrouk (Geant hypermarket and Monoprix supermarket fascias licensed by the French retailer Casino), Magasin General, a state-owned supermarket chain, Promogros, a privately owned supermarket chain, and Bonprix, a chain of superettes.

Although modern outlets have changed the purchasing habits of some consumers, the bulk of food retailing is still undertaken by small neighborhood grocery shops, the so- called ‘Attar’(independently family-run food outlets having a selling area smaller than 50 sq meters and often selling goods on credit). The country has over 250,000 such outlets.

The stocking of shelves at the supermarkets and hypermarkets levels is done through two channels: either through importers or directly by the retailer using its own local and international procurement subsidiary , the so-called ‘Centrale d’achats’. Small grocery stores source their goods from wholesalers for the large part of their


Institut National des Statistiques: national institute for statistics


USDA Foreign Agricultural Service

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