French chain Day by Day currently has just one store in Belgium where you can buy dry groceries in bulk (and none at all in the Netherlands), but wants to expand to 25 Belgian and 40 Dutch stores in four years' time. "Consumers are ready for us."
Bulk's Belgian breakthrough
Day by Day was founded by two French consultants in 2013, who now look beyond their borders. Currently the chain has 44 stores in France (all in franchise) and just the one abroad, but the goal is to have almost 200 stores by the end of 2022. France should make up for 120 stores, while Belgium's only store - opened last September - should have laid the foundation for a chain of 25 stores in the country. Founder David Sutrat also sees room for 40 stores in the Netherlands and 25 in Germany, countries where his chain is not yet active.
It is no coincidence that Belgium is the first foreign market Day by Day ventures into: "Belgian consumers are ready for us: we believe that Belgium is the second country to embrace the bulk concept and things are moving fast. We believe there are already thirty or forty stores that offer products in bulk, compared to 180 in France", Sutrat says in Belgian newspaper La Libre.
Day by Day's founders believe consumers are ready to embrace their zero waste concept, as they start to understand the impact of disposable packaging and are getting fed up with waste. "When we started in 2013, the bulk grocery market was almost dead in France, but since 2015 it has risen again. We estimate this year's worth to be 850 million euro, but given the growth of food purchases outside of the wholesale and the growing number of alternative suppliers, that could be around 3.5 billion euro by the end of 2022."
The founding pair is determined to surf that wave: not only by opening new stores, but also by creating new store concepts. They are currently testing tiny shops-in-shop at village grocers ("A la pesée", with just 44 product references) and at fruit and vegetable shops ("Poids et mesure", with around 150 product references). Moreover, there are plans to develop a whole supermarket that should also offer fresh produce ("Day by Day Grand marché en vrac") and a concept for train stations and airports "Moov'n'Vrac". To be continued?