Since a few weeks, Colruyt reacts to price cuts at Albert Heijn in all its Flemish supermarkets, and no longer regionally. A logical consequence of the expansion policy of the Dutch chain, says the market leader.
"Pricing policy does not change”
Price competition between market leader Colruyt and challenger Albert Heijn is entering a new phase. Until recently, the market leader adjusted its prices regionally, in stores that had Albert Heijn as a direct competitor in their market area. But since a few weeks this is a thing of the past: when Colruyt has to react to a price cut at Albert Heijn, the retailer immediately does so in all its Flemish stores.
"Actually, nothing has changed in our pricing policy," says Colruyt's director Chris Van Wettere to RetailDetail. But the strong expansion policy of the Dutch is making itself felt. "Albert Heijn currently already has 53 stores. Tomorrow they will open in Antwerp, next month in Willebroek, they are spreading like an ink stain all over Flanders. The coast, for instance, was a blind spot for a long time, until Albert Heijn opened in Ostend. So in practice most Colruyt stores were already responding to Albert Heijn. Only a few remained, and they are now responding too. For us this is business as usual, we have done nothing special for it."
According to the retailer, this is a logical evolution, which will also play a role, for example, if Jumbo were to expand further in Belgium. Colruyt's regional pricing policy will not change at all. However, Colruyt still maintains the distinction between physical and online channels. The retailer therefore compares prices in its physical stores with prices in competitors' physical stores, and online Colruyt compares prices with those of other Belgian webshops. Thus, price differences may still exist between prices in the stores and prices at online shopping service Collect&Go.