Belgian chain Medi-Market has opened its first French store in Roncq, near the border with Belgium. The drugstore chain is also soon to open more stores in Italy, as it aims to profit from advantages of operating on a European scale.
Looking to Europe
The Belgian chain is convinced that distribution should no longer be viewed on a national, but on a European level: especially in light of online developments, upon which the group is increasingly focusing, "national warehouses will no longer be relevant", CEO and founder Yvan Verougstraete explains. Hence the expansion into France: "The French market is much more mature than the Belgian one. This opening will allow us to explore the French market and its dynamics".
The first French point of sale is a 'para-pharmacy', selling some 9,000 different products concerning hygiene, beauty and health. The new store is not a pharmacy; in other words, no medicines are offered in the establishment.
Italian and Belgian expansion
Earlier this year, Medi-Market also acquired its Italian competitor Parashop Italia. Over the coming months, the formula still wants to open more stores under its own brand in the country. The Pharma-clic web shop was also recently transformed into the Medi-Market brand, in order to further strengthen the unique character.
"2019 is another year of strong growth, in which we increased the number of our stores with 65 %. In addition, we have set up various large IT and logistics projects to strengthen our operational base", Verougstraete said. In 2020, there will be another ten store openings in Belgium, and by 2021, the group will also be looking at other opportunities for expansion abroad.