Jumbo looks to expand in Europe

Harriet Cohen
Senior Retail Analyst

Date : 03 April 2020

Netherlands-based Jumbo’s chief executive, Frits van Eerd, has outlined the retailer’s plans to expand the brand further into Europe.

Expanding in Belgium…

Van Eerd would like to further expand the brand’s presence in Belgium and, then, eventually introduce it in France. Jumbo currently operates two stores in Flanders, the Dutch-speaking northern part of Belgium. The main challenge of expanding into France is the language barrier, therefore, to counteract this, van Eerd plans to open stores in the French-speaking southern part of Wallonia first. The plan is to open 100 stores in Belgium overall in the next five years, in both Flanders and Wallonia, then re-evaluate the language barrier with France.

…Using its partnerships…

In December 2019, Jumbo signed a deal with Hema to take over the lease of 17 Hema stores in Belgium and the Netherlands. Jumbo is set to stock Hema products in 50 supermarkets by summer 2020. Van Eerd hopes the collaboration and opening of joint stores will establish Jumbo in the Belgian market and enable it to expand further and more quickly than previously envisaged.

The CEO would have liked to acquire the whole of Hema, however he admitted: “I know nothing about non-food”. He is confident the collaboration will be a success as he said “everyone understands that Hema is a great brand with products that fit perfectly on our shelves.”

…While maintaining quality

Van Eerd understands expanding into an over-saturated market, like Belgium or France, can be difficult. However, he hopes to compete by adding more value for less and to offer a differentiated shopper experience. Products will remain of high quality, but at competitive prices, to offer a premium experience.

He said: "It is not about offering a bottle of Coke at a bargain price. If you walk into one of our stores, I hope you think 'There is a warm atmosphere here, I am not in a shed with cheap products'."