Jumbo, the second-largest Dutch supermarket chain, is reportedly planning to expand into Belgium, where according to reports it has already scouted locations for as many as 30 stores to be opened by 2019.
Amid as-yet-unsubstantiated rumours that Albert Heijn will downsize its presence in Belgium as it seeks to rationalise following its merger with local market leader Delhaize, news website Retail Detail cited off-the-record conversations with property agents who apparently confirmed the Netherlands-based firm’s interest.
In a recent interview with Gondola, Jumbo chief executive Ton Van Veen intimated such a move would not occur before 2019.
“It takes a lot of preparation and the right strategy,” he explained. “We're going to take our time, but we're definitely not certain. In our multi-year plan, we have the option to enter the Belgian market. It won’t be this or next year; we want to see what possibilities there are.”
Jumbo has spent much of the past decade updating its stores’ appearance in favour of an open, street market style that places a notable emphasis on fresh produce.
It has also done much to break the division between foodservice and retail, with food-to-go and in-store dining – marketed as a premium offer – making its stores more than simply places to buy food for consumption at home, and therefore outlets to visit on more than one type of occasion.