Rohlik, the Czech online ‘super’, breaks into Spain with the purchase of Ulabox | Economy

Ulabox employee collecting orders in a market in Barcelona.
Ulabox employee collecting orders in a market in Barcelona.Barcelona’s town hall

The online supermarket company Rohlik Group continues its expansion and will land in its fifth country in Europe by starting operations this year in Madrid and Barcelona with the help of its Spanish partner Ulabox. The two companies, which will articulate the merger through the acquisition of the Catalan company by Rohlik, will work under the Sezamo brand. The group of Czech origin, which had a turnover of 490 million euros in 2021, will invest more than 50 million euros in its first five years in Spain and will create a hub technology in the Catalan capital, as reported by the firm on Wednesday.

The Czech company has become one of the leaders in its sector after operating in four Central European markets (Czech Republic, Hungary, Germany and Austria) and anticipating entry into three new countries by 2022. In addition to Spain, the company will break into Italy and Romania. The first area in which it will operate is Madrid. From the second half of the year, expects to be able to cover the entire metropolitan area of ​​the capital, which has more than seven million citizens.

According to company sources, the company will offer consumers more than 8,000 references, including fresh products, which they can receive in a maximum of three hours at their homes. For this, the group already has a logistics center in the south of Madrid and will create 200 jobs. In a second phase, the Sezamo brand will also be deployed in the Barcelona metropolitan area, where Ulabox has been operating for ten years. The details of the purchase of the Catalan firm have not transpired.

The Rohlik Group, which last summer became part of the select group of European unicorns valued at more than 1,000 million euros, works mainly in metropolitan areas. Now it is in Prague, Budapest, Vienna, Munich and Frankfurt, where it already has a million customers. The volume of orders has only grown in recent years. Last year it reached 8.4 million orders with an average value per order of 85 euros, which represented a jump of 70%. The firm, as published on Wednesday by Reuters, has benefited from the change in consumer habits during the pandemic. Its turnover, specifically, reached 490 million euros, which represents an increase of 53% over the previous year.

The group now wants to continue expanding in two directions: one, towards these three new countries, specifically, in Milan, Bucharest, Madrid and Barcelona; and two: towards new cities in the countries where they are already located: in Chrástany, in the Czech Republic, and in Hamburg, Cologne, Essen, Hannover, Stuttgart and Leipzig, in Germany. There the group will operate with the brands with which it has been working until now. In any case, outside the country of origin there will only be another technological center of the company. And this one will be in Barcelona.

The co-founder of Ulabox, Jaume Gomà, will join as CEO of Sezamo. “As soon as we met Tomás Cupr [fundador de Rohlik Group] and his team, it was clear that both parties shared many points of view: from the passion for offering the best customer service, to a sustainable approach when doing business, to offering the best local products”, says Gomà.

He knows in depth all the sides of the coin.


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