Not so long ago I spent some vacation on the Island of Malta. Even though it was for leisure purpose, and actually it remained mostly about that, as I have not spent much time visiting stores, I still was able to find out a bit more about the retail landscape.
What is interesting about Malta is first its geography. It is at the south of Italy. Therefore, you will find a lot of Italian products and brands.
Moreover, it is an island. There is hence different factors that will shape the retail landscape.
- First in terms of products: You will find a lot of fish products.
- Secondly, the cost of retailing. Indeed, you need to import a lot of products. Two consequences. A fairly big part of the products are made in Malta, but some international products, especially cosmetics, were pretty expensive.
- There is no potable water on the island. And it is very hot. Therefore, the water category is very large in the island, with large formats.
A lot of small convenience stores can be find, or small hypermarkets. The roads are small, and the island is small. Therefore, no need to have a big hypermarket. I have found none there.
But another format of retail is thriving there: Lidl. Indeed, Lidl can have a very efficient supply chain, multiplying the stores in order to cover the whole Island. Good strategy.
I haven't visited one (once again, not a long time, and really focusing on the tourism part of the vacations), but Tower Supermarket is really a great store. A big focus on fresh products, with specific concepts, well executed, a large health and beauty section.
A very modern store, that could work in most of European countries. It is always funny to see how local retailer can sometimes be so good.