Zeeman heading for 250 Spanish outlets

Retailer Zeeman plans to open lots of new stores in Spain
Photo: DutchMen / Shutterstock.com

Spain could potentially house 250 Zeeman stores. Its 43 outlets are performing remarkably well and new ones are being opened in quick succession.


Lower wages and rental prices

Discount chain Zeeman is expanding rapidly in Spain, where it's pronounced "Saymàn". At the moment, 43 stores of the chain are operating in the country, looking almost identical to their Dutch counterparts. As Spain is suffering from the remnants of the financial crisis, the concept of discount clothing is hitting a soft spot: Dutch retail brands C&A and Hema are also big in Spain.


There should even be potential for about 250 stores, Zeeman CEO Erik-Jan Mares told Dutch magazine Trouw. By 2020, the number of Spanish outlets should be as high as 100. Not only is the demand for the retailer's cheap fabrics high due to the crisis, there is also less competition from e-commerce in Spain. In addition, Zeeman is making excellent profits thanks to lower wages as well as lower rental prices.


"Oil stain strategy"

The expansion is being handled according to an "oil stain strategy": Zeeman first made its way to Catalonia via France, opening its first store in Valencia soon after. Zaragoza is next, followed by Madrid and Andalusia. The chain with the sailorman logo intends to move quickly to the next southern nation, possibly Portugal.


In terms of locations, Zeeman is mainly targeting residential areas, where they want to position themselves as a neighbourhood store. The formula also claims to be able to attract a wider audience there. Moreover, Mares is using the southern growth to compensate for the shrinking market in the Netherlands, where Zeeman was forced to close 29 stores over the past four years. More closings will follow in the near future.