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Tuesday, May 28, 2024
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Montenegro still awaits Lidl’s arrival despite land purchases

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Back in December 2021, then Minister of Economic Development Jakov Milatović hinted at a significant development: a renowned retail chain expressed interest in setting foot in Montenegro. Fast forward two years and four months, and there’s still no trace of the German supermarket giant Lidl in the country, despite initial land acquisitions.

While Lidl has indeed acquired some plots, their much-anticipated presence remains uncertain. Vijesti Television confirmed that they are actively seeking additional locations for their stores and logistical hubs, hinting at a potential launch in the upcoming autumn season.

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However, official statements from Lidl remain vague, stating they are currently unable to provide further details on their plans or opening dates. Similarly, the Investment Agency refrains from committing to a specific timeline, despite earlier expectations of Lidl’s arrival by the end of 2023.

The delay prompts questions about the factors impeding progress. Lidl’s expansion plans include at least seven municipalities, with land purchases made in Podgorica, Zeta, and Nikšić. Yet, even in these areas, bureaucratic hurdles slow things down. For instance, in Nikšić, where Lidl is scouting for a second location, regulatory delays stemming from the Ministry of Spatial Planning prolong the process.

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Similarly, in Podgorica, Lidl seeks more than one plot for their operations, yet the acquisition of suitable land parcels, totaling nearly 15,000 square meters, faces complexities. In Zeta, plans for both a store and a logistical center are on hold due to unresolved territorial disputes with neighboring municipalities.

Elsewhere, in Bar, government approval for the sale of land sought by Lidl remains pending, delaying progress by another six months. Despite expressed interest in municipalities like Cetinje, Pljevlja, and Berane, negotiations for land acquisition are ongoing, with uncertainties persisting.

The anticipation of Lidl’s arrival stirs hopes among citizens for increased market competition and potentially lower prices. However, until the bureaucratic and territorial issues are resolved, Montenegrins will have to wait for the tangible benefits promised by the retail giant’s entry into their market.

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