Rohlí aiming to make ground on Tesco on Czech online food market

Photo: European Commission

The market in home deliveries of foodstuffs – at present dominated by UK retailer Tesco – looks set to hot up, with relative newcomer Rohlí preparing to expand beyond Prague and supply consumers in other Czech cities, the news website Aktuálně.cz reported.

Photo: European Commission
This week the man behind Rohlí, Tomáš Čupr, presented ambitious plans to grow the business to the media. He was flanked by representatives of the investment group Miton a Enern, which co-created the discount site Slevomat and DámeJí, which conveys meals from restaurants.

Like Tesco when it launched its home delivery service two years ago, Rohlí only operates in the Czech capital at present. From the beginning of next year, however, it will also operate in other urban centres such as Brno, Hradec Králové and Pardubice.

Tesco employees carry crates of food and drink to consumers in Prague, Brno, Mladá Boleslav, Kladno, Kolín, Hradec Králové, Liberec and Jablonec nad Nisou.

Mr. Čupr told Aktuálně.cz that the Czech foodstuffs market was worth around CZK 500 billion crowns a year. And, he said, the online food shopping market was uncharted territory that could be worth up to CZK 50 billion in the not too distant future.

The Rohlí boss estimated that Tesco could have revenues of CZK 1.5 billion from online food sales. This, he said, leaves room for other players.

At present his company has some catching up to do on the market leader in terms of range. Tesco’s Potraviny [meaning foodstuffs] online service offers consumers around 20,000 different items. Rohlí offers only around 4,000 at present, but it aims to double that figure in the near future, according to Mr. Čupr.

In addition, Rohlí says it is more focussed on high-end products. It aims to make use of the already in place network of DámeJí and promises to make deliveries within 90 minutes.

As for the cost of using the service, Tesco charges CZK 59 to CZK 99, while Rohlí charges CZK 79 and nothing for orders of over CZK 2,000.

While Tesco is far and away the biggest player on the Czech market, it is not the oldest. The longest-running firm of this type is Z-market, founded in 2001.

It is based in the capital and delivers to consumers within a 30 kilometre radius of the city; this includes what has become a consumer belt including towns like Černošice and Říčany.

Z-market doesn’t charge for delivery but users must purchase at least CZK 899 worth of goods, from a range of around 4,000 items.

In operation in Prague since 2010, Potraviny domů offers a selection of 6,500 foodstuffs, as well as toiletries, tobacco products and even office supplies. Delivery is free but purchases have to be for CZK 990 or more.

Away from the capital, residents of Ostrava are served by another relative newcomer, Fofr Kurýr, which offers customers goods from a range of chains, including Albert, Lidl and Tesco, Aktuálně.cz reported.