Polish proximity chain Żabka has launched 500 stores since the start of 2020, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, and now operates a total of 6,500 outlets.
The retailer unveiled its 6,500th store at 18 Południowa Street in Szczecin earlier this week, and Tomasz Suchański, Żabka Polska president, has earmarked a further milestone to be achieved by the close of the year.
"The pandemic has not stopped us on the road towards further, dynamic development," he said. "Since January this year we have opened 500 stores, and by the end of 2020 we are going to open another 500 outlets across Poland.
"The interest in our business model has been on a rise; in July this year alone, over 180 new franchisees joined our chain – who want to run a Żabka store recognising the potential of the convenience format."
The retailer has also benefited from the trend towards local shopping in recent months – some 12 million customers already live within 300 metres of their nearest Żabka outlet. The business said that it is using artificial intelligence to determine the best location for new outlets, based on the potential for sales and profitability.
The retailer added that since the outbreak of COVID-19, it has undertaken extensive investment to ensure the safety of its employees, as well as introducing plexiglass screens, contactless disinfection stations and other in-store protective measures.