German electronics group Media Markt - Saturn today announced its intentions to end the Saturn formula in Belgium: most of the Saturns will continue as a Media Markt, but the store in Antwerp will be closed. The changes mark the end of a six-year existence for Saturn in Belgium.
Media Markt no longer pursues two brand strategy
The board of Media Markt-Saturn Belgium has announced today that they no longer wish to pursue the two brand strategy with both Media Markt and Saturn. The group prefers to focus on the further growth of the Media Markt brand.
The move does not really come as a big surprise: pushing the French Saturns away was considered to be a great success internally and Saturn’s weak results had already put the two brand strategy under pressure for a while. The Belgian stores in Kortrijk, Bruges, Wilrijk and Liège will now be turned into Media Markt stores, similar to what happened in Switzerland earlier this year.
Meir loses major attraction
Saturn's flagship store at the Meir in Antwerp will fare rather differently, as Media Markt already has a large store in the Century Center on the De Keyserlei, just down the street from the Meir. The board of Media Markt-Saturn Belgium has therefore declared today that it is their intention to close down the store in the Stadsfeestzaal.
It hopes to accommodate the 54 employees in other stores, avoiding forced layoffs as much as possible. Saturn’s complicated organizational structure may however hamper the employees’ easy transition to other stores.
"Ten additional stores"
To compensate for the Antwerp store closing, Media Markt "intends to open an additional 10 stores in the next three years, starting with Media Markt Mechlin in November. After that, a new store will be opened in Turnhout in the fall of 2014. That signifies a total investment of 30 million euro and some 500 to 600 new job openings”, states CEO Sven Degezelle.
Media Markt-Saturn Belgium, a Metro subsidiary, had a turnover of 646 million euro in 2012 and currently employs over 1,500 people. On a worldwide scale, Media-Saturn has 942 stores in 15 countries, bringing in a net turnover of nearly 21 billion euro with 55,000 employees.