BUDAPEST, Hungary (FNS) -- Alfa Trading Co., Hungary's largest food wholesaler, has opened a 15,000-square-foot cash-and-carry outlet, offering more than 10,000 different products.
Alfa is 22.4% owned by Nash Finch Co., the U.S. wholesaler based in Minneapolis. The range of products offered in the new store is considered to be one of the widest in Hungary's food sector. Also, since the new outlet sells only food and health and beauty care products, it can claim to be the biggest food-selling space in the country, topping German-owned Metro, which has "club-style" stores that sell clothing, electronic products and other nonfood products as well as food.
Anna Wilheim, general manager of Alfa, told SN Global that the store is intended for food retailers to use as a wholesale supply depot, but anyone with a business card can obtain the credentials needed to shop there, as is the case at Metro. Unlike Metro, Alfa does not require shoppers to purchase a minimum amount of products (Metro requires a minimum $45 purchase.) However, Alfa's average ticket runs to $110.
The Alfa is the first of its size in Hungary to be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Typical supermarket are open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday and closed on Sunday.
Alfa was owned by the government until 1992, at which time it was privatized. Today its ownership is: Nash-Finch, 22.4%; HAEF (US), 22.4%; Euroventures Hungary (the Netherlands), 11.2%; TBG Alfa (U.S.), 10%; Commercial Bank (Hungary), 9%; Alfa employees, 5.8%; national government, 9.7%; local municipal governments, 9.5%. Alfa sales volume for 1993 was more than 19 billion forints ($172 million U.S.).
Nash Finch was represented at recent opening ceremonies by Jerome O. Rodysill, senior vice president for store development and construction.