April 19, 2019
Faruk Ademi: How has Balfin Group turned into a leader in Kosovo market with Neptun and Jumbo

Neptun and Jumbo are two Albanian companies, part of the huge Balfin International Group, which have managed to excel in Kosovo, where today they have a leading role in the market of electronic devices, children’s toys and other home appliances.

Neptun currently counts 12 sale points in Kosovo and has a total of 252 employees. The company has an expansion plan and will also come to the cities where it is absent during 2019, where the number of employees will increase to 286. This presence of Neptun in the cities of Kosovo is an added opportunity for the customer seeking quality products, promotional awards provided by joining the “Happy” loyalty program and a quality service from a well-prepared staff as well as customer care.

Meanwhile, Jumbo in Kosovo counts 6 stores (in Fushë Kosovë, Pristina in Albi Mall, Prizren, Gjilan, Ferizaj, Mitrovica) and has 220 employees. With an opening plan for another store in Peja this year, reaching the store number of 7, where 40 new jobs will be created, the total number of employees will go up to 260. Jumbo’s main activity is the trading of children toys, items for the little ones, books, stationery, as well as seasonal and decorative items.

Jumbo is the most beloved brand for toddlers as well as for grown-ups because of the wide range of products, their variety, design and the best price on the market that makes Jumbo an attraction for everyone.

We interviewed the Neptun Executive Director in Kosovo, Faruk Ademin, who has been part of the company since 1997, while starting from 2007, he leads it in Kosovo.

Starting from 2014, Mr. Ademi is also director for Jumbo in Kosovo.

Ademi talks about company achievements, future prospects and market issues in Kosovo.

– For how many years does Neptun operate in Kosovo, and what is the position that the company holds today in the domestic market, and also could you please talk us about Jumbo, where you are also directing?

– F. Ademi: Neptun in Kosovo started its activity in 2007 at the Albi shopping Mall as a modest store and then the network expanded with other stores in Prizren, Fushë Kosovë, Peja, Ferizaj, Gjilan, Klinë, Suharekë , Lipjan, Royal Mall in Prishtina, Mitrovica and now also in Vushtrri. Neptun in Kosovo holds today the leading position in the retail sector of the electronic-household appliances. Meanwhile, Jumbo opened its first store on 28th of November 2014 in Fushe Kosove, and today it counts 6 shops in total. The company is also a leader in retail sales of toys, school articles and various home materials. Today Jumbo is also present at Albi Mall in Prishtina, Prizren, Gjilan, Ferizaj and Mitrovica.

– Tell us the 3 main reasons why a buyer should pick Neptun in Kosovo?

– F. Ademi: Neptun offers a European buying experience with high standard environments based on an excellent customer service. Neptun never compromises at the expense of the quality of products that it offers in any of its stores, as we have pledged to bring the latest technology line from the brands that have really changed the market and of course for the rational pricing scheme with the constant effort to fit everybody’s financial potential.

– What were the main challenges that Neptun and Jumbo faced during 2018?

– F. Ademi: As it is said, “There is no success that tastes stronger than the product of challenges that prepare you for yet another challenge” and for us it is the same. We operate in a market that is not always fair and not every player plays according to the rules of a formal economy, but in contrast to the complex environment in which we work our vision is not affected by these destructive factors and the goal remains the same: to serve them who believed and continue to do all these years by ranking us first in the fields of the industry where we operate, motivating us to improve every day, not to be complacent by what we are but by challenging on what we can become.

– What are the Neptun and Jumbo plans for Kosovo in 2019?

– F. Ademi: Of course, we aim to expand to those cities where we are not yet present, to be where the customer calls for a quality service, world brand products and environments that invite for unique shopping and experience. With this enlargement we will also increase employment opportunities, which positively affects the mitigation of the unemployment rate. In addition, Neptun will also offer e-commerce as an opportunity that facilitates the purchasing process not only for the citizens of the country, but also for those who do not live here. While Jumbo plans a shop opening in Peja during 2019, which will be seventh in Kosovo.

– What does it mean to be part of a big international group like Balfin?

– F. Ademi: Before I emphasize the reputation and credibility that certainly lead directly to another level, which we are aware of, which helps the position and perception in the market significantly, I would call the fact of a great responsibility to engage the consumer, being part of a Group like Balfin, makes the sense of responsibility for the market grow, as expectations go to another stage when it comes to an internationally-owned company.

– What are some of Balfin Group employee policies, part of whom are all the companies that you run in Kosovo for?

– F. Ademi: Balfin Group has a wide tradition for the special treatment of its employees. This group, starting from work practices, programs such as Talent Pool or Training Academy etc., has always had its employees centered, which they consider to be the most valuable partners. Various programs of motivation and professional development, whether internal or in coordination with the industries we work with, have yielded progress, as a good part of the staff currently in key positions has been promoted from the sales level to that decision-making. Therefore, I consider that the correct performance assessment and employee integration in different work processes is an opportunity to highlight talents that have a sharp sense of judgment in business-minded situations.

– What is the biggest problem you face in the market?

– F. Ademi: The problem is not specified as one and only because the problems are numerous and addressed to different categories, but I would point out the parallel imports and the informal economy, which reflect the disrespect made to the market price policy, affecting in consumer behavior and such an approach naturally damages the prism of perception from the outside. Customers are not always informed correctly about how the black market works and not rarely assess the price as a decisive criterion in the purchase process, which I think is a judgment for a short term investment.

– What is one of the biggest achievements of recent years?

– F. Ademi: Continuous development both in terms of human capital, as well as in the perspective of business performance. We are well aware of the position that we hold in the market, but as we know in the digital era the retail industry trends consistently to change, so our commitment extends beyond a daily commodity, following the change in the demand’s curve in relation to the offer, retaining and increasing customer portfolio with more quality service and loyalty program, bringing technological innovations and further expanding the chain of stores that everyone who appreciates the European buying experience has access to and can be part of.